The construction sector has been one of the most important industries in the society today. Without the carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other workers that are part of this big industry, buildings, highways and houses will never be built. Despite being an important sector, the life and safety of its workers are at a high risk as defined by the nature of their job. Because of this, all the necessary precaution must be observed and applied in order to uphold the workers’ safety and at the same time, provide healthy and environment-friendly developments.
In order to address this concern, the World Bank Group came up with a set of guidelines that serves both as an outline regarding the measures to be undertaken and a technical reference to ensure proper industry practice. This is known as the Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines or EHS Guidelines.
The Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines
Aside from the purposes mentioned above, the EHS Guidelines also contains various information regarding cross-cutting environmental, health and safety issues that can be applicable to all industry sectors. The guidelines cover 4 major topics with corresponding subtopics under it –
- Environmental – air emissions and ambient air quality, wastewater and ambient water quality, water conservation, hazardous materials management, waste management, energy conservation, noise and contaminated land.;
- Occupational Health and Safety – physical, chemical, biological & radiological hazards, general facility design & operation, special hazards environment, communication & training, etc.;
- Community Health and Safety – water quality & availability, life & fire safety, disease prevention, emergency preparedness & response, etc;
- Construction and Decommissioning – environment, occupational health & safety and community health & safety.
The EHS Guidelines should be used by other industry sectors in relation to the relevant sector guidelines it belongs to.
The Health, Safety & Environment Test
There will always be a need for a constant check-up to determine whether each industry is properly complying with the guidelines prescribed by their respective sectors. Again, it is important for whatever industry to ensure its workers level of health, safety and environmental awareness before going to the site. As a result of this concern, the Health, Safety & Environment Test or the HS&E Test was introduced.
What is the HS&E Test?
The HS&E Test is a test taken in order to raise the standards across the construction industry and at the same time, ensure that its workers have a minimum level of health, safety and environmental awareness before performing their work. The test can also be used by the employers and its workforce as a stepping stone to develop further knowledge of the industry. Therefore, there is a need to pass the test in order to obtain a construction industry competency card.
HS&E test may be booked online or via telephone. When booking for the test, specify what type of test to take, chosen method of payment, address details and registration number.
What does the test comprise of? Let’s take a look.
The HS&E test is composed of 50 multiple choice questions with 12 questions related to how one should behave and respond to health and safety situations on a construction site in order to be safe and 38 questions to determine awareness on health, safety and environmental issues. The test should be answered within 45 minutes and the person must score a grade of 47 to pass.
There are also 3 different kinds of HS&E test available –
- The Operative Test, which includes behavioural case studies and knowledge on the 5 core knowledge sections namely, Legal and Management, Health and Welfare, General Safety, High-Risk Activities and Environment.
- The Specialist Test, which includes questions on behavioural case studies, 5 core knowledge sections and specialist knowledge questions from any of the activities such as Supervisory, Demolition, Plumbing or Gas, Highway Works, Specialist Work at Height, Lifts and Escalators, Tunnelling, Heating and Plumbing Services, and Pipefitting and Welding.
- The Managers and Professionals Test, which includes behavioural case studies, 5 core knowledge sections and relevant specialist knowledge questions from Construction Regulations, Demolition, Plumbing or Gas or Highway works activities.
Take note that there is a corresponding fee on all HS&E tests.
How should one prepare for the HS&E test?
When preparing for the test, one should gather all the relevant revision materials/books related to health, safety and environment. There are various reference materials such as DVDs, mobile apps and question and answer books which can be downloaded or bought online. One can also refer to the sample questions with answers which one can use when preparing for the test. Reading supporting publications and completing a training course can also be useful to help answer the HS&E test. Further, watching the Setting Out film, a free video presentation which features safety preparations on the construction site, will be beneficial since most behavioural case studies questions will be based on the film.
Where can the test be taken?
There are 3 different test centres where one can take the test –
- Test centre operated by the delivery provider to whom the test was booked; or
- An independent Internet Test Center (ITC) operated by colleges, training providers, or commercial organisations; or
- A corporate test event that can be arranged by the organisation at a suitable location for a group of candidates not less than 16.
When taking the test in any of the test centres, be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the test and bring the confirmation letter or email sent and proper identification documents.
What is the significance of HS&E test?
A lot of risks and accidents can be associated when working in a construction industry. In fact, a lot of industrial accidents take place which results in personal grief, financial costs and negative publicity. By taking the HS&E test and passing it can help increase one’s working knowledge on areas concerning health and safety standards. The person who passed will be granted a CSCS card which can also be used as a form of identification when entering and leaving the construction site.