Which course do I need to get my CSCS Green Card? 

construction site safety signage for cscs green card labourers

With the addition of our brand-new QA Level 1 Health & Safety in a Construction Environment course, there are now three different pathways to gaining your CSCS Labourer Card, otherwise known as the CSCS Green Card. This raises a few questions: which one should I take? Why not just pick the cheapest one? And what are the key differences between the three courses?

Thankfully, we’ve compiled a number of answers to these questions below. Read on to find out more about these three construction safety courses, including the reasons you might take each course, and the additional benefits they offer in terms of your CV and role in the workplace.

Which courses allow me to gain my CSCS Green Card?

SAMS now offer three courses which all offer a direct pathway to your CSCS Green Card:

All three courses are fully accredited by a different training body – Qualsafe, the CITB and IOSH. All of them were developed in conjunction with CSCS, and all three courses are recognised as contributing towards your CSCS Green Card. However, the content of the courses does differ slightly.

What are the differences between the CSCS Green Card courses?

The three courses which qualify for CSCS Green Card applications all cover similar topics which will be of use on a construction site, and are all registered with and approved by the CSCS. However, there are some small differences which may be relevant when you are choosing a course to take.

QA Level 1 Health & Safety in a Construction Environment course

The QA Level 1 Health & Safety in a Construction Environment course is our newest course for CSCS Green Card applicants. The course is notable for being priced at £75 + VAT, a full £50 cheaper than either the CITB or IOSH course. This is due to administrative differences, and is not a reflection on the quality or suitability of the course.

Like the CITB Health & Safety Awareness course, the QA Level 1 Health & Safety in a Construction Environment course is focused specifically on construction safety. The course covers specific topics relevant to safety in a construction environment, including the use of PPE, manual handling, working at height, asbestos exposure, hazard warning signs and more.

The QA Level 1 Health & Safety in a Construction Environment course is regulated by Qualsafe, one of the largest training organisations in the UK. We are an approved Qualsafe training centre with almost a dozen QA courses, meaning that you can guarantee both quality training and valuable course content. We now recommend this course as the ideal choice for anyone applying for their CSCS Green Card, both due to its competitive price and the quality of the course itself.

CITB Health & Safety Awareness course

The CITB Health & Safety Awareness course is the option we would previously recommend for individuals pursuing their CSCS Green Card. While it is the same price as our IOSH Working Safely course, the CITB Health & Safety Awareness course is often seen as being purpose-built for the CSCS Green Card due to the close relationship between the two organisations.

The CITB Health & Safety Awareness course is exclusively focused on the construction and civil engineering industries, which tend to be the most popular areas for CSCS Green Card applicants. The CITB course has traditionally been our most popular option for CSCS applications, and is a great way to learn safety laws and responsibilities for a construction environment.

One of the principal advantages of the CITB Health & Safety Awareness course is that a majority of labourers within the industry have already taken this course. This means that all labourers share the same competencies, reducing the chance of breakdowns in communication or gaps in knowledge that can cause and exacerbate risks. As a result, some employers may continue to pay more for CITB courses in order to maintain parity between workers.

IOSH Working Safely course

The IOSH Working Safely course is the third route towards a Green CSCS Card, and has usually been second preference when advising the majority of CSCS applicants. Unlike the CITB or Qualsafe courses, IOSH Working Safely is a more generic workplace safety course, which teaches basic principles of safe work that can be applied to a range of workplaces.

The IOSH Working Safely course does not directly address many facets of safe work on a construction site, and is therefore generally considered less suited to CSCS Green Card applicants who currently or intend to work on a construction site. It is however considered equivalent to the Qualsafe and CITB courses, and is an acceptable way to gain your CSCS Green card.

Which course should I choose to gain my CSCS Green Card?

While all three of the courses mentioned above will allow you to gain your CSCS Green Card, we now recommend that people take the QA Level 1 Health & Safety in a Construction Environment course. As well as being cheaper for individuals, you’re also guaranteed to receive your certificate more quickly, while still receiving the same high quality of training and the knowledge you will need to stay safe in a construction environment.

However, this is not to say that the other courses are not also valuable. The CITB Health & Safety Awareness course remains among the most respected, recommended and widely taken safety courses for labourers, and will continue to be trusted as a popular choice. It may be that your employer recommends that you take the CITB course just to ensure that everyone in the workplace has the same level of training, with no gaps or differences in knowledge. The CITB also offers a grant scheme for employers, which may make this course a preferable option.

The IOSH Working Safely course meanwhile is great for anyone looking to gain their CSCS Green Card who also works in a non-construction environment, or has plans to do so. It is also adjudicated by IOSH, who are the world’s largest safety training authority, and are also widely respected. IOSH Working Safely graduates often move onto higher courses and become dedicated safety professionals, making this a useful course to have on your CV.