Competent person

09 July 2019

Your business will undertake many daily tasks that will need to be completed safely and with great care. No matter the task, it's crucial that you appoint someone that you can trust to complete it.

If you work in a high-risk industry, it's important that you have a team that helps you meet your health and safety needs. Fail to do so and you could end up facing costly claims.

In this guide, you will learn what a competent person is, how they can help your business, and how to appoint the correct person for the job.

man writing on a notepad next to a laptop

What is a competent person?

Employers are legally required to provide employees with a safe working environment. A competent person is someone who can help you meet your health & safety requirements.

The level of competence required for the task depends on your industry and the job at hand. Formal qualifications are not always required for someone to be classed as a competent person. The qualifications needed will usually depend on the task.

Whoever you appoint should have sufficient training, knowledge and other qualities that will allow them to assist you properly.

Who can be a competent person?

Your chosen competent person will depend on your circumstances.

It could be:

  • One or more of your workers.
  • A third party from outside of your business.
  • A combination of the above.

In a low-risk environment, like an office, your appointed competent person will likely not require formal training.

If you work in a high-risk environment, like a construction site, you will need to appoint competent workers who have relevant skills. Like an installer registered with a relevant scheme operator.

electrician fixing a plug socket

What is a competent person scheme?

Competent Person Schemes allow workers to self-certify their competency.

Here, individuals or enterprises can self-certify that their work complies with Building Regulations. This is an alternative to submitting a building notice or using an approved inspector.

Competent Person Schemes can enhance compliance with the requirements of building regulations. They also reduce costs for firms, promote training and competence and can help tackle the problem of 'cowboy builders'.

Scheme operators and installers must follow certain rules to comply with building regulations. If someone is self-certified their work must be regularly assessed and meet strict entry requirements.

How to appoint a competent person

The level of competency required will depend on the complexity of the job at hand, as well as the particular help you need.

Specialised tasks will likely require a competent person registered with a relevant scheme operator. For example, if you need electrical installation work, your chosen installer will need to be registered with a relevant scheme operator.

This way you can ensure that they have the correct level of ability to complete the task. To find an installer registered with a competent person scheme you can check the government website.

worker in hi-vis on a cherry picker

Get expert support from Peninsula

Every business owner should take the welfare of those in their workplace very seriously. Whether it’s your own employees or visiting clients, you are responsible for them.

As an employer, it's your legal obligation to protect anyone who enters your place of business from potential dangers.  Fail to do so and you could see yourself facing costly damages.

Peninsula's team of experts are here to help with 24/7 expert safety advice. For further information, call 0800 028 2420.


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