What Is A Competent Person?

Competent Person
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Throughout Health and Safety legislation, the phrase ‘competent person’ commonly appears due to the legal requirement for one to be present to help achieve the required health and safety standards. In this blog, we will define what a competent person is and their importance to the workplace.


As the name suggests, a competent person, should be ‘competent’ in a certain area. Competence is the ability to undertake a task on a regular basis to a set standard. There are three important elements that determine the competence of an individual:

  1. Knowledge
    This can be an individual’s qualifications or training.
  2. Skill
    This is the ability to put knowledge into practice.
  3. Experience
    The type of work the individual has carried out previously.

Ultimately, the level of competence required, depends on the task at hand. The more hazards involved with a task, the higher competence required.


Competent Person

A competent person is an individual who can demonstrate they have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to carry out a task. Not only will they be able to spot the hazards, they will know how to eradicate them as they have the required training. It can be anyone from a member of your workforce to the owner. However, just because someone can carry out the task, that doesn’t qualify them as a competent person. In addition, a workforce can have an individual who has competence in multiple tasks, or several individuals with competence in a variety of tasks.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states the following:

Every employer shall, subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.

Make sure your selection of a competent person is appropriate. They may be competent in on area but that doesn’t qualify them in every area. If you don’t have a competent person present, an external consultant can be hired.

Eric’s Top Tip

Make sure your competent person is up to date with the latest health and safety legislation as it’s always changing. Get them to look at health and safety enforcing authority websites as they will often have news bulletins on any changes to legislation. For major changes, refresher training courses are useful for the professional development of the competent person.

What Sure Safety Can Offer

Sure Safety’s team has over two decades of experience, therefore giving us the relevant knowledge, skills and experience. As qualified competent persons, we will be able to advise you in order to achieve the standards required by law. We understand that safety can be seen as a burden but will make sure all your requirements are met and remain within your budget. To further help you through the process, our consultants are dedicated to making safety simple for you and will always be available regardless the nature of the problem.

If you want Sure Safety as a competent person, then call us on 029 2086 8802 or email info@suresafety.org. It’s not worth taking the risk on someone’s safety.

Sure Safety can offer consultancy in the following areas: Health and Safety, Risk Assessment, Fire, Accreditation, Training and Policies, Planning and Management Systems. For more information on these services, look at our website. Furthermore, you can check out our Twitter or Facebook.

Because safety doesn’t happen by accident