We are frequently asked what is a Competent Person in health and safety and how to choose who to appoint as one. Health and Safety law requires employers to appoint a “competent person” to help them to meet their health and safety legal duties.
The competent person should be someone who has the skills, knowledge, and experience to be able to recognise the health and safety hazards associated with the business. They are also responsible for providing practical advice and support.
Who can be a Competent Person?
The competent person can be the business owner, a health and safety professional employed directly by the business. Or you can choose to source from an external health and safety consultancy.
In many businesses, managing health and safety isn’t complicated. Employers can manage health and safety with the help of their employees. However, if the employer feels that they don’t have the confidence, time, or knowledge to properly manage health and safety in-house, then employing or engaging a “competent person” can be a good option.
The important thing for business owners to remember is that managing health and safety will still be your legal duty. This means you will be accountable for any failings.
Outsourcing the role requires the employer to establish arrangements for ensuring adequate co-operation with the competent person. Also providing them with all the relevant information about the business to enable them to be effective in the advice and support they provide.
How to choose a Competent Person?
Choosing an external competent person can be challenging. It is important to ensure that you research carefully and consider the needs of your business and the type of H&S support that will be of most value. A Health and Safety consultant should be: –
- Qualified and experienced (particularly in your business or sector)
- A member of a recognised professional body such as the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH)
- Able to provide references or testimonials from existing clients
- Able to provide you with copies of their CV and professional indemnity insurance
The support that a competent person can provide can be wide-ranging from routine day to day health and safety management; complex audits and investigations; delivering bespoke health and safety training or carrying out health and safety risk assessments or checks.
If you require Health & Safety support, or would like a free Health & Safety ‘Health Check’ for your business, the team at FD People would be happy to help. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0141 221 2984.