Properly identifying fall hazards in the workplace is a critical aspect of risk reduction and can, quite literally, make the difference between life and death. But how, as a manager, do you select the right person to conduct equipment inspections and safety assessments? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets out guidelines for what it deems a “competent person” to perform such inspections and assessments.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a “competent person” is defined as: “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them” (see it on OSHA’s website).
A competent person should be well informed about applicable industry standards, be able to easily identify workplace hazards related to the specific day-to-day operation of the facility or business, and have sufficient authority to correct any problems discovered as a result of inspections or risk assessments.
Industry-specific OSHA standards (including those for general industry, shipyards, longshoring, construction, etc.) can be found at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website (see the link above). It is also important to note that 25 states maintain their own OSHA-approved state plans. More information about these can also be found at the U.S. Department of Labor’s website (see it here).
Remember that it is the responsibility of the employer, not OSHA or the state, to select “competent persons.” This may mean that you need to select one person, competent in evaluating fall hazards, and another in evaluating potential hazards in another portion of the job site or facility, (e.g., excavations). On the other hand, you may have a single worker sufficiently familiar with your entire operation to be the “competent person” for all hazard evaluations. The benefits in choosing the right person(s)—in promoting workplace safety, in providing clear documentation, and in addressing potential legal issues—are obvious. So whether you choose one or five “competent persons” for your facility or jobsite, be sure each has received the proper training and is sufficiently familiar with his/her area to make sound judgments.
To assist employers and employees in meeting the requirements for an OSHA competent person for your industry and your facility, United Alliance Services has developed a series of online safety training courses that are directed towards hazard awareness and compliance training requirements described within the OSHA Competent Person directives.
Discounted Online Safety Courses for Competent Persons (Take an additional 10% discount off the below prices when you use Code: UASC10):
Online Safety Training for Trenching & Excavation Competent Person …$89.00
Online Safety Training for Fall Protection Competent Person …$89.00
Online Safety Training for Scaffolding Competent Person …$89.00
Online Safety Training for Confined Space Supervisor …$159.00
Online Safety Training for Forklift Safety for the Competent Person …$59.00
You can find additional online health and safety training course by clicking here.
Need Assistance with training your competent person?
Bring in an expert safety consultant or industrial hygienist from United Alliance Services to perform a safety inspection. By asking questions and addressing the findings, you will increase your expertise on hazards substantially. To request a free quote for consulting service click here.