SMSTS-R: Site Management Safety Training Scheme - Refresher (2 days)

The SMSTS Refresher course is only for candidates who have previously passed the five-day construction Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) or subsequent refresher course and hold a valid SMSTS certificate.

Any delegate whose SMSTS/SSSTS achievement has expired after the 15th March 2020 and who hasn’t been able to renew in time due to COVID-19, will be allowed to take the refresher rather than the full course. This amendment will remain in place until 31st January 2021. 

Availabe Dates;

15th & 16th December

21st & 22nd January

17th & 18th February

Location: Penrith

Places available please contact Cath on:

Tel: 01768 210022 or email: cathjameson@newstart2001.co.uk

Posted Nov 23, 2020


Worried about renewing your SMSTS or SSSTS Achievement?

CITB - Site Safety Plus have announced

Any delegate whose SMSTS/SSSTS achievement has expired since 15th March 2020 and who hasn’t been able to renew in time due to COVID-19, will be allowed to take the refresher rather than the full course. This amendment will remain in place until 31st January 2021. 

Posted Nov 23, 2020


SSSTS - Site Supervision Safety Training Scheme (2 Days)

This is a two-day course and is intended for those who have, or are about to acquire, supervisory responsibilities. It provides supervisors with an understanding of health, safety, welfare and environmental issues, as well as their legal responsibilities relevant to their work activities. It will highlight the requirement to promote health and safety to supervise effectively.

Available Dates:

15th & 16th February

Location: Penrith

Places available please contact Cath on:

Tel: 01768 210022 or email: cathjameson@newstart2001.co.uk

Posted Nov 23, 2020


SMSTS: Site Management Safety Training Scheme (5 days)

The SMSTS course is one of the most highly respected qualifications for persons who are responsible for the management of construction activities such as construction, building maintenance or facilities management. 

This is a five-day course which provides project managers, site managers and supervisors, with the knowledge and skills to enable them to ensure healthy and safe conditions for construction site employees.

This is a highly interactive course taught through case studies, classroom discussion, group work and individual or group presentations.

Available Dates: 

9th, 26th January, 2nd, 9th & 10th February 

Location: Penrith

Places available please contact Cath on:

Tel: 01768 210022 or email: cathjameson@newstart2001.co.uk


Posted Nov 23, 2020


HSA: Health & Safety Awareness (1 day)

This Site Safety Plus course is a popular route for anyone looking to take their first step towards obtaining a CSCS Labourers (Green) Card.

This one day course can be for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry. The course gives candidates an awareness of health and safety and how it affects their daily role.

Available dates:

7th December - Full

29th January 

Location: Penrith

Places available please contact Cath on:

Tel: 01768 210022 or email: cathjameson@newstart2001.co.uk


Posted Nov 23, 2020


HSE Safety Alert Mild Steel Welding Fume

Following the HSE Safety Alert in February 2019, please see below update.

HSE inspectors are now visiting businesses across the country where welding takes place to check that risks are being appropriately managed.

All welding fume can cause lung cancer so employers must put controls in place. 

In February 2019 HSE issued a safety alert to inform industry of a change relating to the control expectations for exposure to welding fume including that from mild steel welding.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) provide the legal basis to help ensure exposure to any welding fume released is adequately controlled. Revised COSHH guidance has been published, along with updated web pages on how to manage exposure to welding fume. 

HSE  useful guidance can help you to prepare for these workplace inspections.

Posted Jan 13, 2020

News - HSE Safety Alerts

HSE Launches New Dust Inspection Blitz

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is targeting construction sites in a new series of inspections focusing on dust control.

The HSE said it would visit sites over the next few weeks from Monday 10 June 19 to see what measures have been put in place to protect workers’ lungs from the likes of asbestos, silica, and wood dust.

They will be looking for evidence of businesses and their workers knowing the risks, planning their work and using the right controls. Where necessary, HSE will use enforcement to make sure people are protected.

HSE’s chief medical officer, professor David Fishwick said: “Exposure to asbestos, silica, wood, flour and other dust can have life-changing consequences."

“Each year work-related lung diseases linked to past exposures are estimated to kill 12,000 workers across Great Britain. In many cases these diseases take a long time to develop after exposure, so the damage done may not be immediately obvious. Others, such as occupational asthma and acute silicosis, can occur more quickly."

“These conditions can and do have a significant impact on both the individuals affected and those closest to them, so it is imperative that workers take the necessary precautions to protect their lungs.”

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction said: “We are carrying out this series of inspections to ensure businesses are fulfilling their legal duties to protect workers from harm. This includes controlling the levels of dust in workplaces."

“We want to ensure employers and their workers are aware of the risks associated with any task that produces dust. Such work needs to be properly planned and use the right controls, such as water suppression, extraction and masks."

“The bottom line is we want everyone, workers and their employers, to be protected from harm and ill health so they can go home healthy to their families.”

Posted Jun 10, 2019


Planned changes to the HS&E test

More improvements will be made to the CITB Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test on 26 June 2019. These changes are being made to make the test even more robust so that operatives can continue to be safe on the job and know that their fellow workers are just as qualified to contribute to a safe working environment. Employers can also have the assurance that their qualified workforce is less likely to lose days to injuries on the job.

What is changing on 26 June 2019

The CITB HS&E test will be revised in several ways. Details of what will be changed are below.

Up to date with current practice and legislation

All versions of the test have been reviewed, and where applicable the questions have been updated to keep up with current legislation.

The Operatives test in particular will have a substantial update to better reflect the range of day to day tasks and responsibilities an operative has on a site.

CITB has worked with construction health and safety managers and trainers with years of hands-on experience in making these changes, so that the revised HS&E test is up-to-date and fit for the needs of workers and employers.

Level playing field

Each person taking the revised Operatives test will have the same proportion of easy, medium and hard questions. The test will continue to serve up a random combination of questions to a candidate, but each combination will have the same level of difficulty.

We’ve worked with industry experts to make sure that all the test questions were rated for difficulty, so that the revised test is a ‘level playing field’ for operatives who take it.

One score to pass

Instead of two sections of questions to answer, candidates will only have one in the revised test. The behavioural case studies and accompanying questions will be taken out.

The test will still examine whether candidates know the right behaviours to demonstrate in the job - those behavioural elements will be incorporated into many of the 50 test questions.

As there will only be one section of questions, the score will be simpler to understand as a result.

With the new scoring, candidates will now need the following scores to pass the test:

for the Operatives test, the pass mark is 45 out of 50

for the Specialists test, the pass mark is 45 out of 50

for the Managers and Professionals test, the pass mark is 46 out of 50.

New questions and a new style

New questions have been added to better cover the wide range of daily health, safety and environment tasks and responsibilities. So, instead of a limited variety of questions, each candidate will now get a wider selection.

A new question style has also been introduced to the Managers and Professionals (MAP) version of the test. In this new style, candidates will drag and drop the answers into the right order. This format helps test whether a candidate really knows the procedures for being safe on the job.

This new style joins the other styles that were added to the test over the last year. You can see a preview of these new styles on our sample questions platform.

Clearer instructions

Test centres reported that many workers struggled with the instructions on how to use the test equipment. We’ve now improved the on-screen tutorial so that candidates can learn how to operate the equipment during the test.

Materials to revise, not memorise

Revision materials, such as DVDs, books, downloads and apps, have all been updated alongside changes to the HS&E test. In the operative’s version, we’ve replaced some questions and answer with short explanatory text and included more diagrams to make it easier for candidates to prepare and revise for the test.

The updated operative’s revision material won't have every single question and answer from the test. However, it will still cover all the information needed to revise for the test.

These updates have been designed to help workers learn and be able to practice health and safety. When a worker passes the test, it should be because they know and practice safe working, not because they’ve memorised the answers but don’t really know how to be safe on the job.

The updated revision materials will be available to purchase and download from the CITB Shop (External link - Opens in a new tab or window) from 15 May 2019.
Please note, if you’re taking the test before 26 June 2019, you should purchase the 2018 version of the revision materials (not the updated 2019 version).

Posted Apr 30, 2019


HSE increases FFI charge by almost 20%

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has increased its fee for intervention (FFI) hourly rate from £129 to £154.

FFI was designed to recover costs incurred by the HSE during regulatory action against organisations that fail to comply with safety and health law, thus transferring the financial burden from the taxpayer to the business.  

The new charge came into effect on 6 April and it is the second increase since the scheme was introduced in October 2012. The rate first went up in 2016, from £124. 

HSE’s cost recovery rate for FFI will increase to £154 per hour with effect from 6 April 2019. This means that businesses that are found to be in material breach of health and safety law will be charged at this new rate. As now, those businesses that meet their legal requirements will not pay anything for HSE’s regulatory activity.

A material breach is defined by the HSE as “something which an inspector considers serious enough that they need to formally write to the business requiring action to be taken”.  

It serves to emphasise the fact that organisations should ensure that they are complying with the law and operating safely. If an HSE inspector finds a material breach of health and safety law, that is now going to be significantly more expensive.” 

Under the scheme, the HSE only recovers costs of its regulatory work from non-compliant duty holders found to be in material breach of safety and health law. 

The fee covers an inspector’s time spent identifying and resolving the issue, as well as any investigation or enforcement action up to the point where HSE’s intervention has been concluded or a prosecution is started It is calculated by multiplying the time spent on FFI activity by the hourly rate. 

Posted Apr 29, 2019

News - HSE Safety Alerts

HSE announces enforcement action change based on new cancer evidence

The regulator has issued Safety Alert STSU1 – 2019Change in Enforcement Expectations for Mild Steel Welding Fume based on “new scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer” that exposure to mild steel welding fume can cause lung cancer and possibly kidney cancer in humans.

The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fume as a human carcinogen.

HSE has announced that in the light of this evidence general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control:

“With immediate effect, there is a strengthening of HSE’s enforcement expectation for all welding fume, including mild steel welding; because general ventilation does not achieve the necessary control.

Control of the cancer risk will require suitable engineering controls for all welding activities indoors e.g. Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV). Extraction will also control exposure to manganese, which is present in mild steel welding fume, which can cause neurological effects similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Where LEV alone does not adequately control exposure, it should be supplemented by adequate and suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect against the residual fume.

Appropriate RPE should be provided for welding outdoors. You should ensure welders are suitably instructed and trained in the use of these controls.

Regardless of duration, HSE will no longer accept any welding undertaken without any suitable exposure control measures in place, as there is no known level of safe exposure.

Risk assessments should reflect the change in the expected control measures.”

Actions required

The regulator has set out the action required which we have summarised below.

See the Alert for full details:

  1. Engineering Control – of welding fume released, typically LEV;
  2. Duration and Location – suitable controls for all welding activities e.g. any duration or outdoors;
  3. Residual Fume – provide RPE when engineering controls alone cannot control exposure;
  4. Use and Maintenance – use, maintain and thoroughly examine all engineering controls;
  5. RPE Programme – establish and operate a programme to ensure RPE is effective.
Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) workplace fume and dust extraction

Effective LEV or dust/fume extraction can carry away airborne contaminants before they can be breathed in.

This website provides practical advice for employers and employees on buying and using LEV and what to do to comply with the law. It will help designers, installers and examiners work with their customers to control airborne contaminants effectively.


Posted Mar 1, 2019