CPCS/NPORS Cards for
Construction Plant Operators
To work on construction sites, Plant Operators must prove their knowledge and competence on the plant they operate. Access will become limited if valid cards are not held.
There are 2 card schemes mainly recognised by Contractors to prove competence on site:
- CPCS – Construction Plant Certification Scheme
- NPORS – National Plant Operators Registration Scheme
Both schemes have cards for different plant. To obtain the correct card, Operators must demonstrate their knowledge and skills by attending training, passing a test/assessment or achieving an NVQ, whichever is most appropriate to the Operators’ level of experience.
CPCS – There are 2 types of CPCS Card, a Trained Operator (Red) Card and a Competent Operator (Blue) Card.
The first part of achieving full compliance to CPCS is to obtain the Trained Operator (Red) Card. Operators need to pass a CPCS Technical Test. The test involves a theory and practical part and Operators must pass both and hold a valid CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test (within the last 2 years) to obtain the Card. The Trained Operator (Red) Card is valid for 2 years and cannot be renewed.
Once the Trained Operator (Red) Card is issued, Operators have 2 years to achieve an NVQ Level 2. A valid CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test (within the last 2 years) must be held to upgrade to the Competent Operator (Blue) Card. The Competent Operator (Blue) Card is valid for 5 years.
When it is time to renew a Competent Operator (Blue) Card, Operators need to:
- Successfully pass the CPCS Renewal Test(s) for the plant they are qualified to drive. There are 15 multiple choice questions.
- Hold a valid CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test (within the last 2 years).
- Prove ongoing plant operation.
NPORS – In order to obtain an NPORS Card, an assessment of Operators’ skills is carried out and a judgement is made on their ability to operate a plant safely. Operators Cards are issued showing the level of training/assessment undertaken and stating the Operator classification, such as Novice, Operator, Experienced Operator (requiring training) or Experienced Operator (requiring no training). NPORS Cards are valid for 3 or 5 years.
CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test – The CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test helps workers prove that they meet a minimum level of health, safety and environmental awareness while working on site. There are 50 multiple choice questions.
Duration & Location
Duration – The length of the course depends on the skills and experience of the Operator. CPCS/NPORS tests are carried out in a day. On average, 2 to 4 visits are required over approximately 6 weeks to complete an NVQ. If training is required, the length of the course will be discussed with a Tutor/Assessor. The CITB Health, Safety and Environment Test is a maximum of 45 minutes.
Location – The location is dependent upon each Operators’ needs. Courses, tests and assessments are carried out at plant training centres, on-site and/or at CITB Health, Safety and Environment testing centres available Nationwide.
Those who successfully complete a course, test or assessment will receive a certificate from a recognised awarding organisation: CITB/CPCS/NPORS/Cskills Awards.
Once the relevant course, test or assessment has been successfully achieved, the appropriate CPCS or NPORS Card can be ordered. For CPCS, Operators must hold a valid CITB Health, Safety and Environment test (within 2 years) to apply for the Card.