I’ve just completed my screen test – not for any starring role on the silver screen, but in many ways equally important. I am, of course, talking about the health and safety screen test that is required for the CSCS card registration scheme.

I have to be honest and say that neither myself nor my two contract managers were particularly motivated to do the test. As my colleague put it: “Surely, we don’t need to know about scaffolding and ditches to lay a floor.”

As the course progressed, however, it soon became clear to all of us that health and safety is not just about installing a floor safely but also about taking due care and attention in relation to the total site environment in order to protect ourselves and others from serious or fatal injury.

I have to say I actually found the CSCS course really interesting. I’ve often complained about the paperwork involved in preparing method statements and risk assessments, which all too often is simply filed in a drawer and never consulted – until there is an incident. However, this course has opened my eyes to the reality that we must all put into practice a strict health and safety policy and not simply pay lip service to it.

In today’s construction industry, main contractors are constantly trying to meet very tight programmes. Inevitably, contractors can’t wait to get you on site to start installing the flooring as early as possible, which allows them to push the job on. Consequently, we are increasingly finding ourselves working around obstacles in unfinished areas, without any proper safety guidance.

CSCS cards are therefore a must for the contract flooring professional. The screen test has been a reality check and the cost is minimal. I would encourage everyone who has not already done so to take it at their earliest opportunity.

Hamish MacGregor, Contract Flooring Association