The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies. Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.
SMSTS Course Syllabus and Objectives
After completing the SMSTS course, delegates should:
- Manage health and safety on a construction site in accordance with the current legal provisions, and within the context of their management or supervisory roles
- Have an understanding of their responsibilities and accountability for construction site health and safety and the welfare of workers
- Recognise that a safe construction site is efficient, economical and productive
Key Topics Include:
- Identification of on-site hazards (COSHH / Working at Height etc.)
- Duties under The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2015
- Duties under The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- Construction site safety monitoring
All SMSTS course tutors are qualified and experienced health and safety training professionals with an appropriate background in construction site health and safety.
All tutors hold professional membership of the chartered Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
The courses are run in a manner which keeps those attended interested and engaged throughout the session, so that information is absorbed and retained for the multiple choice assessment at the end of the training.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does the SMSTS Course Cover?
The CITB Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) course starts with the basics: legal, moral and financial reasons for practicing health and safety, arguably the bedrock of health and safety practice. It also covers some of those legal duties, for example 'reasonably practicable, practical, and absolute' duties, along with sources of information and accident investigation, including the causation tree. Hazard spotting and risk assessment, and the principles of likelihood x severity, including the five steps to risk assessment and the principles of controls, are also covers in the SMSTS course syllabus.
The high number of different risks to health that are present on a construction site means that SMSTS courses also include an overview of the main hazards associated with various factors and topics, covering issues such as work equipment, transport safety, electricity, fire, manual handling, COSHH, working environment, site waste management plans and CDM, plus a whole lot more.
So despite not being as long in duration as a qualification such as the NEBOSH Construction Certificate or a NEBOSH Diploma course, SMSTS courses still pack in a significant amount of information. This is why it is much better to do the course on consecutive days rather than a day release SMSTS course over one day a week as much of the subject matter taught on the first day or two will have been forgotten by the time it comes to taking the exam. We have found that providing health and safety training in this way leads to a significantly higher pass rate for course attendees.
How is this course assessed?
During the SMSTS course, projects are undertaken in groups and constantly assessed by the course tutor. At the conclusion of the course, delegates are required to undertake a short multiple choice assessment.
Those who successfully complete the projects and assessment are awarded the CITB Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Certificate.
What course material is provided?
Each delegate will be issued with SMSTS textbooks to take away and keep, which will assist them both during and after the course and will contain information, guidance and forms to assist managers. The course is designed to be interactive, allowing delegates the opportunity to develop their skills with the support of the course tutor.
Scheduled Open Courses
Unfortunately the SMSTS course is not currently scheduled as an open course.
If you have a need for this course, please call us on 0844 800 3295 or contact us online as we can run it in-house.
SMSTS Course Articles
SMSTS and COSHH
COSHH, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, is a broad subject which has an impact on virtually every worker, no matter what their particular industry. Although most people assume that COSHH risks only exist in workplaces involving extremely hazardous chemicals such as heavy duty manufacturing, even employees in workplaces such as restaurants will have the potential to come into some form of hazardous substance, such as dust or cleaning fluids.
Its wide-ranging nature means that as well as being a stand-alone topic, COSHH is also covered in a variety of health and safety courses. One such course is the CITB Site Management Safety Training Scheme, or SMSTS for short. An SMSTS course is aimed at construction site managers and project managers, and deals with a number of different areas concerning the safe operation of a construction site, as well as complying with all applicable regulations and legislation.
The SMSTS course syllabus looks at the main COSHH hazards that may be present on a construction site, making managers aware of their duties to their workers with regards to COSHH, and informing them of the relevant health and safety legislation which they need to know.
Our COSHH training is run primarily as a tailored, bespoke course which deals with the specific risks and substances that your workers may encounter. This is much more effective than a general course which deals more with theory and may focus on substances which your staff would never come into contact with during the course of their work duties.
Electrical Safety on an SMSTS Course
Workers on a construction site will use a variety of electrical tools such as drills, cutting wheels, grinders etc which, if faulty or damaged, can cause them to suffer an electric shock. The impact of this incident will depend on numerous factors such as the level of current involved and the age of the individual concerned, but can cause injuries which include burns, heart attacks and falls from height. This is why electricity is such an important module of the SMSTS course syllabus, and indeed other accredited health and safety qualifications and training courses.
It is the responsibility of employers to carry out risk assessments to identify the risks that workers face when using electrical items, and ensure that suitable measures are put in place to control these risks. There is also the responsibility to provide information such as health and safety training and appropriate instructions and training on the correct use of the machinery. There are a number of regulations and legislation to adhere to with regards to electrical health and safety and using electrical tools. These include The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), and The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
It is important that electrical tools are not damaged, and are tested regularly for electrical safety by PAT (Portable Appliance Testing). Workers should also understand the procedures for reporting damaged or defective equipment, along with knowing not to use or carry on using damaged equipment, as well as how to label the equipment correctly so that other people do not come along and use the equipment when they may not realise it is damaged and potentially dangerous. Repair work should only be carried out by competent persons who are qualified to undertake electrical repairs. Unauthorised repairs or temporary 'quick fixes' should never be made where electricity is involved.
With regards to electricity cables and power lines, it is important that workers understand the risks of direct contact and the arcing (jumping) potential of electricity in order to avoid suffering an electric shock. This includes the establishment and strict observance of minimum distances when working near overhead power lines, and performing site assessments to identify buried cables, although there may still be a chance of unidentified and unknown cables being present in the ground.
SMSTS Health and Safety Courses and Electricity
Electricity is a key subject area taught on CITB Site Management SMSTS courses as it has the potential to cause serious injuries or death if suitable precautions are not followed.
The most obvious way in which working with or near electrical cables or machinery can be made safer is to switch off the supply of electricity before starting any work if this is possible. With no electricity flowing, wires can be safely touched and worked on, although machinery may need to be 'earthed' to discharge any static electricity which remains and could cause a spark or shock. It may also be necessary for a permit to work system to be put into place to ensure that the electricity is off, and remains off, until work is complete and it is safe to switch the power back on. Often though it will be impractical for the electricity to be switched off, for example turning the electricity off to an entire town whilst a small construction site operates near the power lines, in which case suitable precautions need to be undertaken in order to avoid the risk of injury or death from electricity.
On a construction site, a number of the tools being used will run off electricity rather than batteries. This means that there is a risk of electric shock from faulty or damaged equipment; most often damaged cables and plug casings. The tools used on a construction site will often be subjected to a lot of rough handling as they are used, stored and transported around from place to place. Damaged plugs and cables caused by actions such as overstretching the cable, accidentally cutting the protective sheathing of the cable, carrying the tool by the cable, accidentally bashing the plug whilst it is plugged in or putting a heavy item on top of the plug whilst it is being stored and causing the casing to crack can all lead to the bare wire being exposed which can cause an electric shock to the operator.
Whilst health and safety courses and training can make workers on a construction site aware of the dangers that electricity can pose to their safety, it will only be truly effective in reducing accidents if it is combined with common sense and a suitable working environment of reporting faults and not taking risks by using damaged equipment.
SMSTS Course Syllabus - Electricity
One of the areas which is given particular attention on the syllabus of an SMSTS course is the topic of electricity. In fact, electrical safety is covered in many health and safety courses, not just those focusing on construction site safety, due to its presence in just about every place of work. Electricity can cause serious injury or death to a person in a number of different ways, which is one reason as to why it poses such a threat.
For starters, electricity can cause burns or cause a heart attack if the current is sufficiently high. Even a low level of current can produce a shock which causes a person to recoil or knocks them off balance, which could lead to a fall if they are working at height, or an injury if they end up stumbling into a nearby object such as knocking a free-standing storage cupboard over which then falls on them or the items spill out onto them.
The speed of electricity is one of its characteristics that makes it so dangerous. Coming into contact with a bare wire by either touching it directly with the skin or it being conducted through a metal object will result in a virtually instantaneous electric shock, making it impossible to react in time to prevent it once contact has been made. This is why prevention is so critical when it comes to electrical safety in the home or in a place of work.
In fact, direct contact does not even need to be made. Electricity has the potential to arc (jump) to a material that comes near to a cable. The distance will depend on conditions such as the level of voltage and atmospheric conditions, but is a significant risk on a construction site where highly conductive metal machinery parts such as cranes and excavator buckets will come close to electricity cables and power lines.
As well as directly causing death and injury, electricity can also be dangerous by causing a fire or explosion. An electrical spark can ignite flammable dust or gas and explode; with one of the most common examples on a construction site being a spark from the static electricity on a metal fuel storage tank where fuel for the machinery and equipment is contained.
The Site Management Safety Training Scheme SMSTS course syllabus also covers excavations, which is relevant to the risk from electricity as the source of an electric shock is not limited to overhead power lines, but can also come from electrical cables buried underground which are struck by a person or the metal tools they are in contact with whilst digging down and excavating.
SMSTS Course Syllabus - Fire
Fire is one of the most prominent risks to a person's health and safety in any place of work, and this is just as true on a construction site. The presence of flammable materials such as timber, sources of ignition, potential for damaging cables and pipes, and temporary or changing status of things like switching on and off the supply of gas or electricity can all contribute to a fire breaking out. As a result, many health and safety courses such as the Construction Site Managers SMSTS will have a unit covering fire safety on the course syllabus. There are even specific workplace fire safety qualifications like the NEBOSH Fire Certificate which deal exclusively with the risk of fires in the workplace, such is the magnitude and danger from fires occurring.
The danger from fire is not just limited to the flames. There are perhaps more people who die from smoke inhalation and asphyxiation than are burnt to death in a fire. It will not take long for workers who are trapped by fire in an enclosed room to be overcome by the smoke. Also, fires can cause explosions if the fire spreads to a gas storage tank or the containers where fuel is stored for the construction site vehicles.
Construction sites are also likely to use or store hazardous substances which may cause health problems or damage to the local environment if the contents are released through damage to their container from fire.
Every construction, demolition or excavation site will be slightly different depending upon the work being carried out and the materials or utility supplies in the vicinity. Whilst fire is a risk on all sites, it may be the case that the risk of fire is significantly higher due to the particular circumstances, and so a hot works permit to work system may need to be introduced and adhered to in order to mitigate the risks. If a permit to work system is to be utilised, workers will need to have received permit to work training so that they understand how the system operates, why it has been introduced and who is responsible for what.
Why Can't SMSTS Training Prevent All Construction Accidents?
There are two primary objectives for putting employees and workers through health and safety training courses: to reduce accidents and to comply with applicable health and safety legislation. The second objective is there to achieve the first one, in that legislation is introduced to help protect workers and force employers to provide, as far as is reasonable practical, measures which keep workers free from illness and injury whilst doing their job and do not place them in unnecessary danger.
The ultimate ideal would be to eliminate all risks and reduce the chances of an accident taking place down to zero. Unfortunately the nature of life means that this is impossible. Even if a worker resorted to sitting at home in a quiet room doing nothing there will still be a risk to health, albeit much lower. For example, the roof could collapse or a faulty gas pipe could cause a terrible explosion and fire. Working on a construction site is risky even with all the health and safety training and precautions in the world, as there are an uncountable number of hazards and dangers present from sources including hazardous substances, moving heavy vehicles, sharps risks, fires and explosions from underground or overhead cables etc. Comprehensive training, provision of safety equipment, performing risk assessments and implementing safe working practices will all help to reduce the chances of an accident, but unfortunately can never totally eradicate all risks.
Construction site-related health and safety training courses such as the SSSTS and SMSTS courses will give site supervisors and managers a greater understanding of their responsibilities when it comes to health and safety on the construction site. Not only will it enable those with such responsibility to comply with relevant site safety legislation, but will also provide the necessary knowledge to go beyond the minimum legal requirements and create a safe site as far as is practical.
SMSTS - A Manager Should Lead by Example
In pretty much every industry, workers will look up to management and expect them to show leadership and provide guidance for them. And just as a child will copy the actions of their parents, so too will workers copy the actions of their manager.
On a construction site, as it is in other industries, it is up to the manager to set an example and to enforce rules. When it comes to health and safety on a construction site, it is the responsibility of the site manager to do this, which is why the syllabus on qualifications such as SMSTS courses place so much emphasis on the responsibility of site managers to implement and enforce safety rules whilst on site.
It is also important for the site manager to prove their commitment to health and safety by doing rather than just saying. If they talk about the need for safe working practices on site but then do not stick to them themselves and take risks, not only will what they say lose all credibility, but their workers will also begin to copy them and their dangerous actions.
As well as setting a good example, a good site manager should step in and put a stop to any activity where a worker is not following procedures or is working in an unsafe manner. Turning a blind eye not only condones the practice, but means that everyone is at risk as the incident that could result may affect everyone around e.g. if it were to cause an explosion or a fire.