Each year, before you know it, it’s time again to do your CHAS application. And we know it can be stressful time.
So much now rests on your ability to renew your CHAS certificate, and each year it seems to get harder and harder.
Failing to successfully complete your CHAS application can have a significant affect on your ability to get work, but also, existing clients will sometimes with-hold payment for work you’ve already completed until you have a valid CHAS certificate in place.
We put together the important 5 most things that you should check before you submit your CHAS application.
[Bonus] Check 0 : Do you have to do CHAS?
There are many schemes out there that do the same thing as CHAS, and are recognised the same way. They are all part of the Safety Schemes in Procurement forum, and at the end of the day they all work to the same set of rules, which means the certificates are all equal.
Our list below applies whatever scheme you don, so please read on, But first consider if you really need to do CHAS.
We’ve done lots of applications for CHAS and other schemes, and in our experience, CHAS is the most difficult. They tend to look at stuff that is outside the scope of what they are supposed to be assessing (your capability to work safely on someone else’s site).
Having said that, they only assess to the legal requirements, so they don’t ask for anything unrealistic. It’s just annoying when you get caught out on a technicality around something that doesn’t affect your on-site safety.
Ultimately, you’ll have to do whatever scheme your client is asking for, but it’s something to consider.
Check 1 : Document dates
All of the documents you submit to CHAS should be dated within the last year. Anything older than 12 months (With a few exceptions – see below) will be rejected by your assessor.
Documents that must be less than 1 year old include
- H&S Policy
- Risk Assessments
- Method Statements
- COSHH Assessments
- H&S Advisors CV
- Equipment inspections and PAT testing
- PPE issue / checking records
- Specific assessments – manual handling, fire assessments etc.
- Health surveillance records
- Meeting minutes / toolbox talks / safety memos
- Asbestos training certificates
- Site inspections and audits
- Minor incident reports and investigations.
- Construction Phase Plans (if applicable to your organisation)
As mentioned above, there are a few exceptions to the 12 month rule, including
- RIDDOR reports (normally up to 3 years old)
- HSE enforcement actions and corrective measures (normally up to 5 years old
- Training records (can be used prior to expiry date)
Check 2 : Staff and Training
This is a huge one, and where a lot of companies slip up and cause themselves all sorts of complications.
It is becoming common now for CHAS assessors a to insist that all workers who are going to work on-site have some sorbet of health and safety training.
Some assessors will accept in-house training, other insist on recognised training. Some will also count an NVQ or apprenticeship as being H&S training. You just won’t know until you get your assessor – so be prepared.
The main thing to check is that your training matrix (the spreadsheet listing employees, training courses and expiry dates) is up to date with all employees and the training they have done.
Make sure you have certificates for all the training on the training matrix, as the assessor could request copies.
Then, check that everyone on the matrix has either general H&S training, or and NVQ in their trade. If you do all this, you stand a better chance of getting through.
You’ll also probably submit copies of toolbox talks attendance sheets, RAMS inductions, site inductions etc. Make sure that everyone on these attendance sheets is listed on the training matrix. If they’re not, cross through their names on the sheets, and mark them as “left”
Check 3 : Staff competence
You need to be able to show your CHAS assessor that your staff are competent to carry out the work that is expected of them.
When you start your application, you will need to decide what trade you are going to be assessed against. Choose this carefully, and based on the qualifications your staff have.
It’s no good to submit a CHAS application for “plumbing”, then send in a training matrix and certificates for “electricians”. Same goes for masons, carpenters, roofers and so on.
The exception is general builders, where a range of qualifications is useful.
Many of your staff may not be qualified in anything, other than having a 1-day H&S awareness certificate (technically classed as labourers). Now, you can submit an application will 99 labourers and 1 roofer. The logistics of this don’t make sense. Your assessor needs to be sure that you have at most 4 labourers per qualified tradesman. This makes sense, as you could expect that would work on site.
Just an additional warning. Many assessors are starting to “infer” what training a tradesman should have. We’re seeing more and more applications sent back saying that all carpenters Must have Paslode training, or all electricians must have tower scaffolds etc. So just be prepared for this sort of feedback.
Check 4 : RAMS
Check through your RAMS thoroughly before you submit them to your CHAS assessor.
Look through your RAMS and find everywhere where they mention any type of tools / equipment, and anywhere they mention that “staff will be trained…”.
Once you have identified this, check your training matrix to see if you can provide the evidence to back this up. If not, your may want to consider getting the training done, or removing it from the RAMS if applicable.
Assessors love trawling through RAMS to find little nuggets like this. So we recommend you get there first and get it sorted.
If you can’t backup the claims in your RAMS with certificates etc. It can cause huge problems with unexpected training bills.
Check 5 : Management Qualifications
Everyone in the company needs to be competent in what they do. While it’s still relatively uncommon for supervisors and managers to do NVQs, it is easy enough to do the righ level of H&S training.
Your CHAS assessor will expect to see that your supervisors and managers have the appropriate level of H&S training for their roles.
If you have gangs of up to 5 workers, they should be supervised by an appropriately qualified supervisor. Within construction, we would expect them to have done the 2-day site supervisors course.
For bigger gangs, you need to consider having a 5-day site manager in charge. You should also have qualified site managers managing any site supervisors you have, or if you’re running your own sites.
Our checklist mainly revolves around checking training and qualifications. The majority of the CHAS application (or any other SSIP application) is simply about checking documents. In general, documents can be created in a short amount of time. However, if your assessor finds some training that hasn’t been done, or your workforce isn’t competent to do the work, you face failing your assessment.