Safety + Health magazine published some interesting food for thought in their 2012 “What is a 'competent person'?” article, where they delve into just what OSHA means by that term.
We see the term frequently in OSHA documentation. According to OSHA themselves:
“An OSHA "competent person" is defined as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them". [29 CFR 1926.32(f)]. By way of training and/or experience, a competent person is knowledgeable of applicable standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation, and has the authority to correct them. Some standards add additional specific requirements which must be met by the competent person.”
The Safety + Health article offers some thoughtful quotes from industry insiders on how each aspect of that definition comes into play as construction crew leadership decides who at their sites is the designated “competent person” in any given area of expertise.
Training, experience, and the ability to correct a situation—it really is more than simply taking a class, although that's a primary component of the equation. We especially appreciate the article's reference to how important it is to have an EH&S program at any workplace.
“In some respects, designating a competent person is similar to instituting a workplace safety and health program – both have goals of identifying and mitigating hazards. [Kevin Cannon, safety and health services director at the Associated General Contractors of America] believes that employers who have a competent person working likely have already implemented some type of injury and illness program.
'If you’re aware of the need of a competent person, it’s not by chance. You understand what your responsibilities are,” Cannon said.'”
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Summit's extensive catalog of over 600 safety training courses will help you build up your team of “competent persons” in over 100 OSHA, DOT, and EPA compliance topics, including OSHA 10- & 30-Hour and HAZWOPER training.
To get that safety and health program rolling at your business, call us today at 800.447.3177.