What is a competent person?

Climbing equipment

Competence can be defined as the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them to perform a task safely. 

A competent person is someone that has a full understanding of the potential hazards related to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and how to comply with best practice and these regulations. A competent person has had sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to help you properly. You must be assisted by a competent person to meet the requirements of the health and safety law when using any equipment. The level of competence demanded depends on the complexity of the circumstances and the help you need.

A competent person is generally set apart from their colleagues and is associated in overseeing, inspecting and auditing the working practices of others.

Who can provide training?

Anyone that provides training on the use of PPE should be sufficiently skilled and trained. The degree of skill of the training provider depends on different factors including the nature of the work equipment, the potential risks. 

Read our PPE Management for Contractors article to learn about who is responsible for training.

An example of when a competent person is needed is when thorough examinations and inspections of lifting equipment are to be completed. The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) states, in Regulation 8, that a competent person responsible for planning must have ‘the skills, knowledge and experience to make the relevant assessment of the requirements of the lifting equipment being used and the type of task being carried out’. The inspection and testing of protection devices must also be carried out by a competent person at frequent intervals records of these inspections must be stored securely.

Regulations also state the person carrying out inspections must have the appropriate knowledge and experience of the equipment, this enables them to detect defects and continue to use the equipment safely.

Papertrail is designed for managing PPE and health and safety equipment in your workplace. With Papertrail, you can set daily, weekly, monthly or 6-monthly inspection schedules for all your equipment, and get notified whenever another inspection is due – all inspections are stored securely.

You can review and improve your inspection management system today for FREE! Download our 5 Step Management System Review Workbook, created for equipment managers to ensure your PPE management system is effective.


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