Competent person

  • Risk Assessment
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

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Competent person advice guide for employers from Peninsula Business Services UK. Employers call us today on 0800 0282 420.

It's imperative you prioritise the health & safety of your employees in your workplace. This includes ensuring staff members have sufficient training to perform their duties, or hiring a competent person to manage higher-risk responsibilities.

A competent person ensures that high-risk tasks are performed without compromising the safety of others. If your workplace doesn't employ one - but is required to by law - you could face workplace injuries, fines or even prosecution.

In this guide, we'll discuss what a competent person scheme is, what the law says, and the consequences of not using one.

What is a competent person?

A competent person is someone who has sufficient training, knowledge and other qualities which help them recognise hazards in a workplace. They put measures in place which allow employees to work safely.

The qualifications competent persons require depends on the industry or business they work in. Whilst the law doesn't suggest formal training is necessary, it can help.

What health and safety law requires a competent person?

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires businesses to appoint a competent person. It places a legal obligation on employers to ensure their work complies with health & safety standards.

What are the consequences of not appointing a competent person?

If you do not appoint competent help, you could breach the law. Which might lead to an intervention by the local authority. This can then result in fines or - in more serious cases - imprisonment.

Who can you appoint as a competent person?

To meet the requirements of the law, the competent person you appoint should be registered by a competent person scheme. And the scheme should be approved by the MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government).

Under the law, a competent person could be:

  • Yourself.
  • One or more of your workers.
  • Someone outside your business.

If you need to employ a competent person externally, you can use The Competent Persons Register. Workers and contractors on this register are regularly assessed. The register confirms they have the competence for your workplace.

What are competent person schemes?

The government introduced competent person schemes in 2002. The schemes allow tradespeople to self-certify that their work complies with building regulations. This means that the local council doesn't need to check the work they perform for risks.

For example, an electrician in a scheme can self-certify that their electrical installations comply with the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting). Those in the scheme have the competence required to assist with electrical work.

Why use competent person schemes?

There are several advantages of using a competent person scheme. Such as:

  • You can save time: Using a competent person scheme saves time, as you don't need to apply for building regulations approval. And can perform your work with less hassle.
  • You can save money: You can also save money with a competent person scheme. This is because you don't need to pay a private building inspector to check your work.
  • You'll have better knowledge of hazards: As this is your business, you will have a better understanding of the dangers your employees could encounter. Which will make it easier to be aware of what safety controls you need to put in place.

Get expert advice from Peninsula UK

You should appoint a competent person or persons in your business. Competent persons should have the appropriate training and ability to perform dangerous tasks safely. And without risk to others.

Without a competent person, workplace injuries at your business may become frequent. Not to mention you could face fines - or even prosecution if you breach work regulations.

Peninsula offers you expert 24/7 HR advice and support, to help you appoint a competent person in your workplace - or use a competent person scheme. As well as advising you on what knowledge, skills and experience they will need. Contact us today on 0800 0282 420.


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