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About the Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test

About the Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test

The CITB Health, safety and environment (HS&E) test is an important way for construction workers to show that they can be safe on the job. It's also a way for them to know that their fellow workers are as safe on the site and not put them at risk of injury.

For employers, having workers who've passed the CITB HS&E test is assurance that their workforce are and can continue to be safe at work.

There are three types of HS&E test. If you already know which type of test to take, you can book and pay for the test online or over the phone.

Structure of the test

The HS&E test is made up of 50 questions covering five core knowledge areas:

  • legal and management
  • health and welfare
  • general safety
  • high risk activities
  • environment

Candidates have 45 minutes to answer the 50 questions. The test now includes new question styles. Behavioural case studies are also used in the test to check a candidate's understanding of health, safety and environmental issues, and how to behave safely on-site.

CITB is continually reviewing the test to ensure that it continues to help construction workers and employers get the right knowledge, skills and training to be able to work safely in the industry. There are further forthcoming improvements to the test over the next 12 to 18 months.

Cost of the test

It costs £22.50 to take the HS&E Test.

Vouchers of this value can be purchased ahead of time and used to pay for the test (please note vouchers can only be redeemed at Pearson Professional Centres).

Types of HS&E tests

There are three types of HS&E Test:

About the Operatives HS&E test

The Operatives test ensures workers have a minimum level of health, safety and environmental awareness before going on site. This test covers the five core knowledge areas listed above (see Structure of the test).

The pass mark for the Operatives test is 90%. To pass, you need to answer at least 45 out of 50 questions correctly.

About the Specialist HS&E tests

These tests include questions about the five core knowledge areas as well as relevant questions in the chosen specialist areas. The Specialists test can be taken in the following topics:

  • supervisory (SUP)
  • demolition (DEM)
  • plumbing (JIB) (PLUM)
  • highway works (HIW)
  • specialist work at height (WAH)
  • lifts and escalators (LAEE)
  • tunnelling (TUNN)
  • HVACR - heating and plumbing services (HAPS)
  • HVACR - pipefitting and welding (PFW)
  • HVACR - ductwork (DUCT)
  • HVACR - refrigeration and air conditioning (RAAC)
  • HVACE - services and facilities maintenance (SAF)

The pass mark for each of the Specialist tests is 90%. To pass, you need to answer at least 45 out of 50 questions correctly.

About the Managers and Professionals test

This test covers the same five core areas but also includes questions on the following topics:

  • construction (design and management) regulations
  • demolition
  • highway works

The pass mark for the Managers and Professionals test is 92%. To pass, you need to answer at least 46 out of 50 questions correctly.

Special assistance for the test

CITB offers a variety of access arrangements for candidates taking the HS&E test at a Pearson Professional Centre.

The following access arrangements are available to book instantly as part of the standard booking process for the HS&E test:

Instant book options for the HS&E test
Instant book options Type of HS&E test
  Operatives Specialist Managers and Professionals
Voiceover   

You can choose to take your test with the help of a voiceover audio recording in either English or Welsh. If you’re sitting the Operatives test, you can choose from a further 12 languages.

You’ll be provided with headphones so you can hear the test questions and possible answers in your chosen language. The questions and answers displayed on the screen will remain in English.
  • English
  • Welsh
  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • French
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Lithuanian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • English
  • Welsh
  • English
  • Welsh
British Sign Language (BSL) video

You can take the Operatives test with the help of a video recording of a BSL signer, which will play on the screen during the test.
Yes No No

The following access arrangements can be requested via the Special Assistance team by calling 0344 994 4491 or emailing citb.testingspecialassistance@pearson.com (please note evidence may be required to approve your request):

On request options for the HS&E test
On request options Type of HS&E test
  Operatives Specialist Managers and Professionals
Translator

If there’s no voiceover for your language, you can sit the Operatives test or Specialist test with the help of a translator.
Yes Yes No
British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter

You can take any of the tests with assistance from a BSL interpreter.
Yes Yes Yes
Reader or Reader-Recorder

You can take any of the tests with the help of a reader or a reader-recorder as long as you can provide evidence* to support your request.

A reader is a person who will read the test questions and possible answers to you and a reader-recorder is a person who will read the test questions and possible answers to you and record the answers as you provide them.
Yes Yes Yes
If you take your test with the assistance of a translator, BSL interpreter, a reader or a reader-recorder, you’ll be provided with a separate room at the test centre and extra time to complete your test.

When contacting the Special Assistance team to make a request, please provide the following information:

  • which HS&E test you want to take (Operatives, Specialist or Managers and Professionals – you can use the CSCS card finder to check which HS&E test you need)
  • where you would like to take your test (which test centre)
  • what access arrangement you need
  • any evidence you have to support your request (*evidence may include a letter from a doctor or a formal assessment document from an appropriately qualified specialist)

Once your request is received, a member of the Special Assistance team will contact you to discuss your requirements and complete your booking (subject to availability).

When you book your test, you can check the accessibility arrangements at your Pearson Professional Test Centre, for example, ramps or parking spaces for disabled drivers.

If you require any access or reasonable adjustment arrangements not listed above, please call 0344 994 4491 or email citb.testingspecialassistance@pearson.com.