What is the SSSTS and how will it help you in your daily work within the construction industry? Backed by a wide number of leading industry bodies including, the United Kingdom Construction Group (UKCG), Build UK and other prominent industry organisations, Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) is a training course that’s highly regarded across the sector.

Whether the SSSTS was recommended to you or you’ve seen it mentioned on job applications or simply heard the term bandied around and want to know more, here’s a guide to the SSSTS and how it can help you.

Whatever your question, from SSSTS certificates to cards, course details and more, here’s all you need to know about the SSSTS and why it holds such currency for professional development within the construction industry.

Who is the SSSTS for?

The SSSTS is for those already working as supervisors or those planning to become one.

What is the SSSTS?

The SSSTS, officially known as the Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme is a highly respected health and training course for site supervisors or those who wish to become one.

Designed and run by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the two-day course is specifically shaped to equip supervisors with all the information they need to carry out their health and safety responsibilities on site effectively.

The CITB run the course under their critical remit to lower the high proportion of accidents on UK construction sites. The SSSTS provides construction workers with official recognition of their training. It provides essential evidence required for professional development when working or planning to work in a supervisory role on-site, in the form of the SSSTS qualification.

Widely embraced by the construction industry, the SSSTS is a standard requirement for most supervisory roles in the industry. It covers all aspects of workplace topics relevant to supervisors, spanning health, safety, welfare and environmental issues.

The SSSTS qualification usually appears alongside the gold CSCS card as essential qualifications for those wanting to work as a site supervisor.

For progression, the Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is a follow on CITB course which covers more specific aspects of workplace health and safety such as: electricity, excavations and scaffolding. The SMSTS is for a range of industry leaders, including site supervisors and site managers.

What does the course involve?

The SSSTS course involves a rich range of teaching and assessment. This is through group work, case studies, classroom discussion, group presentations, individual presentations and self-study in your own time.

The course programme is extensive, covering

  • Your legal responsibilities as a site supervisor
  • Everyday health and safety challenges faced by site supervisors on the job
  • The supervision of occupational health in role
  • Carrying out risk assessments and implementing control measures as a supervisor on site
  • How the Health and Safety at Work Act applies to your role
  • Monitoring behavioural safety and more

The SSSTS exam

The SSSTS course is assessed through:

  • an SSSTS exam
  • an informal assessment via a case study task
  • analysis of general participation during class activities
  • a 5-minute toolbox talk presentation you will be asked to deliver

Thus, your Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme qualification will be well-deserved hence its recognition across the industry. Gaining an SSSTS qualification means you’re officially assessed to be fully competent to carry out supervisory responsibilities on-site for: health, safety, welfare and environmental duties relevant to your role.

Serving as official and solid evidence for such an important issue for the construction industry, the SSSTS qualification is a priceless asset to any employer who can be reassured you’ll help to keep the site, staff and yourself safe.

The SSSTS exam lasts for 30 minutes and largely consists of multiple-choice questions. There are 25 questions and the pass mark for the exam is 80%. Questions will cover topics from the course, namely:

  • health and safety laws and their relevance for site supervisors.
  • responsibilities for securing safety on-site as a supervisor.
  • risk assessments and the relevance of method statements.
  • how to monitor site activities successfully.
  • effective facilitation of site inductions, toolbox talks and method statement briefings.
  • how to deliver timely intervention when bad practice is identified.

How long is the SSSTS course?

The SSSTS course lasts for two days but you don’t have to attend training two days in a row if you don’t want to. If booking two days off together is problematic you can spread the sessions over two weeks. Be sure to attend both sessions because missing one will leave you unable to complete the course or gain certification.

Attendance is part of the overall assessment and your trainer will check your attendance during their trainer review. Failure to join the course twice within a two week time period will cause you to have to take the entire training afresh.

Where can I take the SSSTS course?

To book the course you will have to attend in-person training at the CITB’s National Construction Training Centre. The CITB’s National Construction Training Centre has sites in:

  • Norfolk
  • Kent
  • Suffolk

If these locations don’t work for you, you might wish to consider booking in-person training which will see CITB trainers attend your workplace or a location of your choice to deliver the course direct to you and your colleagues.

If this doesn’t appeal, you may prefer to take the SSSTS course with an approved CITB training provider. However, you need to be sure the provider you choose really is a recognised partner of the CITB. You can check the list of approved training providers on the CITB website.

What do site supervisors do on-site?

So what are the day-to-day responsibilities of a site supervisor on a construction site? Site supervisors are leaders rather than managers so you’ll be working underneath the site manager whom you will report to. The role works to support the site manager and be their lead on the ground.

That means as a site manager you’ll have responsibilities for keeping the project on track on the ground. You will also need to keep staff focused and working to expected standards. In practice, some duties as a site supervisor might include:

  • Delegating tasks to team members.
  • Monitoring progress in meeting project deadlines.
  • Inspecting work carried out by team members.
  • Identifying and addressing potential safety hazards on site.
  • Monitoring staff adherence to correct health and safety practices on site.
  • Dealing with accidents on site by following company and industry protocols.
  • Maintaining accurate records of staff attendance.
  • Evaluating staff performance, including the introduction of disciplinary measures as necessary.
  • Analysing blueprints to ensure they meet design, safety and budget requirements.

What qualification will I receive from the SSSTS?

Once you’ve successfully completed and passed your SSSTS assessments, you can look forward to receiving your prized SSSTS certificate. When your certificate arrives, keep it somewhere safe because you will need to show it to future employers. You will receive the certificate up to four weeks after your course has finished.

The SSSTS certificate, formally known as a Site Safety Plus Certificate, will be a requirement for employment as a site supervisor so it’s good to keep that in mind when you’re revising for the examination.

You can use your SSSTS certificate for 5 years after your course is complete. To continue using the certificate beyond that point, you will need to take the one-day SSSTS Refresher Course, the SSSTS – R.

The SSSTS Refresher will update you on changes and developments since you last trained. This is to ensure your practice on-site remains current. Don’t let your SSSTS certificate expire or you’ll have to take the course all over again!

Will I get an SSSTS card?

Although you do hear it mentioned a lot in passing, there is no such thing as an SSSTS card. The SSSTS card and the CSCS gold card do often appear together as industry requirements for supervisory roles.

However, the SSSTS course doesn’t result in an SSSTS card or even a gold CSCS card. What the SSSTS course does is give you all the information you need about your health and safety responsibilities a supervisor on-site, knowledge the CSCS test for the gold CSCS card will seek to check.

Do you need to revise for the SSSTS exam?

Yes, you absolutely should revise for the SSSTS exam. Answering 25 questions in 30 minutes is no mean feat. Our mock SSSTS tests are the perfect way to revise for your SSSTS exam.

If you fail the exam, you’ll have to take the course all over again – imagine that? With the SSSTS a requirement for successful recruitment to most supervisory positions in the industry this is not a test you want to fail. Who wants to have to pay the £305 course fee twice? Not you, me or anyone else! Not to mention another two full days of attendance.

Failure is not an option and with our free online practice SSSTS tests, it doesn’t have to be. Our mock SSSTS tests are exactly like the real thing. You’ll even get to see your pass mark at the end of each test. You can take as many practice tests as you want and you’ll see the answers to any questions you get wrong at the end which is invaluable.

What qualifications do I need to become a site supervisor?

Site supervisors have many different types of qualifications. In general, to apply for a role as a site supervisor you would certainly be expected to have qualifications or training in construction earned after secondary education. For example: NVQs, apprenticeships or health and safety training.

For many workers who have their sights set on becoming a site supervisor, the SSSTS course is a first step on the path to achieving their goal. Many workers choose to study construction-related NVQs at Level 3 or 4.

NVQ courses

Popular NVQ courses for would-be supervisors include:

  • NVQ Level 3 in Occupational Work Supervision
  • NVQ Level 4 in Construction Site Supervision (either Building and Civil Engineering / Conservation / Highways and Maintenance Repair / Residential Development)

To give you another idea of the type of training you may want to pursue, the requirements for the CSCS gold card (which is the CSCS card for supervisors and workers with specialist level of craft skills) include:

  • an NVQ/ SVQ Level 3 for Occupational Work Supervision or a construction-related subject at a supervisory or technical level
  • an NVQ/ SVQ Level 4 for a construction-related subject at a supervisory or technical level.

For further information about relevant training as a pathway to becoming a site supervisor, head to the CITB website for a full list of training courses or discover more about gold CSCS cards for supervisors here. If you wish to discuss your training options with a trained team member, call the CITB from Monday to Friday, on 0344 994 4400.

You’ll also find information about financial assistance for training on the CITB website or via the CITB worker you talk to over the phone.

Take a free practice SSSTS test today and make sure you pass first time? With an 80% pass rate required, it’s worth ensuring you don’t have to repeat the experience twice.