Racking Installations: Do My Installers Need CSCS Cards?

Are you getting some new pallet racking in your warehouse? Have you checked whether your racking installers need a CSCS card? It may surprise you to learn a good many racking installations are considered construction projects. As such, they fall under the safety and legislative requirements of any site.

That means, as the client ordering the racking, it is your responsibility to check the quality and safety standards of any racking installers working on your site. Within the construction industry, one well-known way to achieve this goal is by asking to see their CSCS card.

We take a look at how regulations have changed within the industry, the development of CSCS cards and why they should matter when ordering new racking. We’ll also explore the importance of training for racking installers and what type of card your racking installer should carry.

What is a CSCS card?

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme, also known as CSCS, is the leading training and qualification verification scheme for the construction industry.

Launched in 1995, CSCS works to ensure that all construction workers in the UK receive appropriate training and qualifications that are suitable for their role. By doing so it will help to improve standards and safety within UK construction.

Holding a CSCS card is not a legal requirement, and it is up to the main/principal contractor or client to decide if their site workers need one. However, a CSCS card does offer a very quick and easy way for managers to check the qualifications of the contractors on their site.

If their team have the correct training, it goes a long way to ensuring the project and site is meeting its Health and Safety requirements. As a result, most main/principal contractors do require workers on their sites to hold a valid CSCS card.

Image courtesy of Rapid Racking

How have CSCS cards changed?

When the card scheme was first launched there were several different cards available to contractors. These included cards for traditional and specialised roles. It also covered any construction-related professions which needed access to sites but did not fall into any other CSCS card category or there was no relevant pre-qualification available.

In 2015, CSCS set out a major milestone which would look to improve the qualifying levels for all card schemes and meet the requirements of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC). Some of the changes included:

CSCS Partner Card Schemes

Following the release of Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Industrial Strategy: Construction 2025, CSCS announced that the industry will work to identify one card scheme. This will provides clients, employers, and contractors with a consistent means of recognising that an individual has achieved the agreed standard of qualification and skill in the occupation they are working in. This is the One Industry Logo action.

In 2016, CSCS signed agreements with 25 Partner Card Schemes who committed to meeting requirements set out by CLC. Today 38 organisations – known as the CSCS Alliance - have signed up for the scheme.

Each of them agrees to meet the following conditions:

  • Appropriate qualifications for each occupation
  • Setting a minimum standard for skilled occupations
  • The implementation of smart technology

Construction Related Occupation (CRO)

To further support a unified card scheme, on 1st October 2015 CSCS introduced a new measure which would see the eventual withdrawal of the CRO card. Previously there were over 2 million CSCS related cards in circulation covering over 350 occupations. A significant proportion of the growth was driven by construction industries desire to be fully carded as opposed to a qualified workforce.

This card was intended for members of construction-related professions which needed to access construction sites but did not fall into other CSCS card category and where no other relevant qualifications available. CRO card holders would need to specifically register with a training or qualifications scheme directly appropriate for their occupation. All CSCS CRO cards expired 30th September 2017, at this time it amounted to 85,000 cards.

Do you need a CSCS card for racking installations?

As many racking installations are a construction project, the racking installer may need to hold a CSCS card. You should also be aware that racking installations are considered a skilled trade. Since the removal of CRO cards, the only way to get the correct CSCS card for racking is through the SEIRS training scheme. As one of CSCS’ 38 Partner Card Scheme our SEIRS card meets the conditions set out by CLC.

Be aware that not all SEIRS installer cards show the CSCS logo. For the SEIRS Foundation, Diploma, Supervisor or Manager card to show the logo the installer must specifically apply for the CSCS qualification. They must also pass the appropriate CITB Health, Safety and Environment test before attending the course.

The CSCS SmartCheck App allows over 2 million cards displaying the CSCS logo to be verified using a single app. Developed by the 38 CSCS Partner Card Schemes, SmartCheck will radically improve card checking procedures and site safety. It will also help to tackle fraud within the construction sector. On-site card checkers now have a quick and secure way of ensuring everyone has the right qualification for their job.

What is SEIRS?

Established in 2001, SEIRS is a national registration scheme which aims to raise standards at the point of installation. The initiative rigorously trains racking installers on correct installation methods in accordance with SEMA standards.

Training forms a central part of SEIRS. To achieve a full SEIRS card, installers must attend two courses:

  • SEIRS Foundation – Part 1 – is an introduction to installations. It instructs installers on generic and industry-specific health and safety issues that are likely to affect pallet racking installations.

    At the end of the course, the installer receives a SEIRS Trainee card which is valid for six months. This period enables the trainee to develop and enhance their skill sets on sites while under supervision.

  • SEIRS Diploma - Part 2 - is a two-day course which completes the installer's training. On successfully passing a thorough assessment process, they are awarded a full SEIRS card which is valid for five years.

    The course includes a mixture of classroom-based theory and, in a first for the industry, a significant practical element. This course has been designed to be rigorous and challenging with an emphasis on the practical component of racking installations.

To maintain their credentials installers must attend a General Refresher training course every five years.

Can you work on construction and racking installations without a CSCS card?

As we mentioned earlier, there is no legal requirement to hold a CSCS card. However, as with all construction projects, Health and Safety guidance and regulations cover racking installations and require the use of trained labour. This includes:

  • Building Safety Act 2022 this new legislation came into force on 1st April 2023. The Act introduces new duties for the management of fire and building safety in High-Risk Buildings (HRB). The legislation primarily covers new or existing occupied buildings over 18 metres high (or seven storeys or more). However, it does present wider implications for whole construction industry. Building Safety Regulators (BSR), although focusing on HRBs, will ensure contractors meet safety standards on all buildings. This may see a rise in managers checking the credentials of contractors and requesting CSCS cards for all contractors.

  • Construction Design & Management Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) these regulations were introduced to address the role of the client in projects. It makes prime decision-makers accountable for any decisions when engaging contractors and ensuring they meet health and safety conditions on the project. This includes checking that every supplier involved in the construction process is the ‘right person for the job’ which includes designers, contractors and workers.

  • HSG76 Warehousing and Storage: A Guide to Health and Safety is produced by the HSE. These guidelines advise warehouse owners on the correct steps towards improving warehouse safety. The guidance covers the lifetime of the equipment, the use of ‘competent’ people on the job and steps towards creating a safe environment. The guide very specifically references SEMA’s SEIRS and SARI initiatives as an example of best practice.

If you need any help with planning your racking installations or need to check what regulations your project should meet, why not get in touch with SEMA. We can answer any questions you might have.