What is a Competent Person?

“Competent Person” has:

    1. The knowledge to recognize a hazard, and
    2. The authority to correct it

Industries Requiring Competent Person Training

In the OSHA regulations, there are three big sections that necessitate a Competent Person:

    1. Scaffolding
    2. Fall Protection
    3. Excavations

Competent Person Training

Generally, these classes are twenty-four hours long, but taking the class is not enough.  How does taking a class make you competent?  Training will provide the knowledge, but who really knows you?  What are your capabilities and how do you apply what you learn?

Your employer must understand what you learned and understand how you performed on the course examination.  Employers must observe how you demonstrate your learning of recognizing and correcting hazards.  How do you handle others?  Are you respected by your peers and coworkers?  The employer looks at you from a liability standpoint and evaluates the risk.  So ultimately, the employer deems you competent and gives the authority to stop work and correct hazards in the workplace.

OSHA and the Competent Person

OSHA will ask for the Competent Person on job sites. They want to know:

    • If your employees know who the Competent Person is, and
    • To evaluate their knowledge and level of authority

 

OSHA could cite you if you do not have a competent person, or if your Competent Person is found lacking knowledge and information. It is important for the employer to select the right person for this role.  Competent Person’s must understand the responsibilities that come with the role. Title cannot be a haphazard appointment.

Competent Person Training

“Competent Person” classes designed to present a higher level of education than your standard training classes.  It provide the information necessary to qualify somebody for this title. Employers must establish an assessment period for a new Competent Person and evaluate their ability. Once you are comfortable with your new Competent Person, give them the authority to operate and introduce them to the employees.  Employees need to know who to turn to with a question or concern.