The 200 multiple-choice questions on the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) exam will come from 4 different domains. These are program management, worksite auditing, training, and professional responsibility. There are specific tasks, knowledge sets, and skills associated with each of these domains. In order to maximize your chances for success on the exam, focus your study not only on the general domains, but on those specific tasks, skills, and knowledge sets that fall within them.
The first domain covered on the CHST exam is program management, which constitutes 52% of the exam. There are a number of tasks relevant to this category. In terms of program management, a CHST must be able to evaluate construction documents in order to determine whether safety regulations are met or not, help in the formation of a safety plan, and communicate to contractors and employees how they are expected to adhere to safety regulations. A CHST must perform job safety analyses, be familiar with codes and standards and capable of communicating them to others, create plans for hazards such as weather that cannot be foreseen, form an emergency response plan, and evaluate accidents and problems on the work site that warrant the redrafting of that plan. Questions in this area may require you to demonstrate your knowledge of record keeping, security measurements, personal protective equipment, relevant codes, regulations, and standards, the identification of hazards, types of emergencies, and emergency equipment. There are also a number of skills that you will need to effectively carry out tasks in this domain. These include interpreting construction sketches, planning for emergencies, communicating verbally and on paper, thinking critically, identifying hazards, and using computers and the Internet.
The second domain of content on the CHST exam is worksite auditing. 19% of the exam will be drawn from this domain. Relevant tasks may include the direct assessment of safety on a worksite, the recommendation of measures that can be taken to improve any problems you find in your assessment, and helping with health and environmental inspections. The worksite auditing portion of the exam will require you to draw on knowledge related to electrical safety, fire safety, electrical testing equipment, cranes and rigging, common construction site hazards, ergonomics, auditing techniques, personal protective equipment, training techniques, the regulatory inspection process, and lines of communications. The skills associated with tasks in this domain are engaging in conflict resolution, using measuring equipment, assessing general worksite conditions, communicating verbally and on paper, applying regulations, and coordinating employees.
The third domain you will encounter on the CHST exam is training. This area will make up 21% of all exam content. The principal tasks associated with this domain are evaluating the type of training personnel need, training personnel both on and off the worksite, organizing safety training, and organizing and speaking at regular safety meetings to be held on the worksite. Both these tasks and the questions on the CHST exam will require knowledge of different types of hazards, training techniques, relevant codes and regulations, instructional materials, conflict resolution strategies, time management strategies, human behavior, and injuries and illnesses directly related to construction. Skills relevant to this domain include conducting surveys, training personnel of different skill levels, communicating both verbally and on paper, resolving conflicts among personnel, employing instructional equipment, and evaluating personnel feedback.
The fourth and final content domain on the CHST exam is professional responsibility. This section will make up 8% of the exam. Tasks covered may include keeping records of injury and health-related incidents, renewing certification on a regular basis, and complying with ethical standards found in the BCSP Technician and Technologist Code of Ethics.
These are the domains of content presented on the CHST exam and some of the tasks, knowledge sets, and skills associated with them individually. The examples provided are just that: examples. Questions may draw from other topics, but they will most likely relate to these.
CHST Exam: Eligibility and the Application Process
Before you can take the Constructional Health and Safety Technician (CHST) exam, you must meet a number of eligibility requirements, which relate to work experience, educational experience, and moral character. These requirements are in many ways for your benefit. If you meet these qualifications, you are more likely to have the necessary fundamental knowledge to pass the exam. If you prove to be eligible, you can apply for the exam and, if approved, schedule an appointment for the CHST exam.
In terms of education, you must have a high school diploma or GED to be considered for the CHST exam. While this is the minimum level of education that must be attained before applying, reaching a higher level of education will reduce the work experience requirements. An associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or higher in a field that is not necessarily related to health and safety can be substituted for 1 year of work experience. If you have an Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) safety degree, you can substitute it for 2 years of work experience. Any degrees you obtain must come from an educational institution that is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education.
A minimum amount of work experience is necessary to qualify for the CHST exam. Applicants must have accumulated a minimum of 3 years of experience in the construction field. At least 35% of their duties during this time must have related to safety on the construction site. The 3 year requirement for work experience can be reduced somewhat by furthering your education at the college level. There are several categories of work duties that will qualify for construction experience. You can work in a specific branch of construction, as carpenter, painter, or iron worker, for example. You can hold a position with a construction company that involves your direct contribution to planning and organizing construction projects. You can also work as a designer or specialist in the construction field. If you are having trouble determining if you meet the 3 year minimum of experience, try figuring up the hours you have spent on the clock. If you work 40 hours a week, you will come out a little over 2000 hours in a year. Figure extended working time and time off from work into these computations.
In addition to meeting education and work requirements, you must also be of sound moral character to qualify for the CHST exam. In the application process you will provide the names of two references who will attest to your moral character. You will also attest to this yourself in the Validation section of the application form.
If you meet all eligibility requirements, you can proceed with the application process. Fill out the application form found in the CHST Candidate Handbook. You’ll also find experience forms and reference forms in the Candidate Handbook. Send in your completed application form, experience forms documenting your eligibility, the two reference forms attesting to your work experience, professionalism, and moral character, student transcripts if you have completed a college degree, and the $140 application fee, which can be paid with a check, money order, or credit card.
After you apply, you will find out within several weeks by mail if you have been approved for testing or not. If you are approved, you will have 3 years to register for and take the CHST exam. If this time elapses and you still have not taken it, you will have to start over with the application process. In some cases it is possible to buy a time extension of 1 year if you do not take the exam by the time your 3 year deadline arrives. When you are notified of your approval for the exam, you will also be given detailed instructions on how to register online for a convenient exam location, date, and time.