Safety awareness licensing for construction and quarrying workers

6 April 2021 

3 April 2021


Ministers Harris and Collins announce important step in safety awareness licensing for construction and quarrying workers



Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, TD have today (Monday) announced the development of a licensing model for certain construction and quarrying related activities.


The licensing model will change the current practice under which some workers in construction and quarrying are certified to undertake specific activities in areas like operation of machinery. 


Operators will now be required to prove that they have the skills and experience to maintain their licences on a regular basis.  This replaces the current model where there are no restrictions on the renewal of operator cards.


Operation of the licensing model will be supported by a licensing authority.


The changes are intended to complement to existing legislation in the health and safety and construction and quarrying sectors.


Speaking today, Minister Harris said “Supporting safety in the construction and quarrying sectors is vital.  This decision is a step change in how the State ensures that safety is continually reinforced, and that people are supported in safe working practices”.


”This is an example of the education and training sector supporting our colleagues working in health and safety to deliver on reducing the number of workplace accidents, work related injuries and fatalities.” 


SOLAS, the State agency with responsibility for the further education and training sector, supports the construction industry through safety awareness training and certification.  The licensing model forms part of SOLAS’s ongoing broader programme of work on construction safety training.


Minister Collins highlighted that “The current position is that when a person completes their training in construction skills or quarries skills and receives their operator card, they can renew that in five years’ time with no need to re-certify or prove their competence.


“The new ‘licence to operate’ type model which includes formal renewal and professional development is a more appropriate system. It will allow anyone who is working in construction or quarrying to receive high quality training more frequently than is now required.  


“This is about not only learning a skill, but in making sure that those skills stay relevant and up to date.”




Notes to the Editor


The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) & the Quarries Skills Certification Scheme (QSCS) provide for the training, assessment, certification and registration of non-craft operatives for occupations within the construction and quarrying sectors. 

CSCS and QSCS programmes are delivered by SOLAS Approved Training Organisations (ATOs). On successful completion of the training programmes the trainee receives a QQI certification and a CSCS/QSCS Registration Card.  Cards are currently renewable every 5 years from the date of the latest certification. Renewal of a card is on the basis of payment of an appropriate fee with no requirement for re-certification/proof of competence.


Safe Pass is a one-day health and safety awareness programme delivered by SOLAS Approved Training Organisations and tutors. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013,  craft and general construction workers, persons undertaking on-site security work and persons or classes of persons as may be prescribed by the Minister are required to hold a safety awareness registration card (Safe Pass card).


The aim of the programme is to raise the standard of safety awareness in the construction industry and to ensure that, over time, relevant site personnel undergo basic health and safety awareness training to enable them to work onsite without being a risk to themselves or others who might be affected by their acts or omissions. Candidates who successfully complete the programme receive a Safe Pass Registration Card.


Further information on CSCS, QSCS and SafePass may be found on


The list of relevant Construction Activities may be found on:


The list of relevant Quarrying Activities may be found on: