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What Are the HSE Competent Person Guidelines?

What Are the HSE Competent Person Guidelines? post image

Effectively managing health and safety in construction is paramount. With construction being named the most dangerous job in the UK – and with more fatalities than any other industry according to HSE stats – there’s never been a more important reason to take a proactive approach to health and safety management.

Any company with five or more staff must appoint a competent person to manage health and safety in the business. Here’s everything you need to know about hiring/appointing the right person for the job.

Why you need a competent person

Appointing a competent person within your organisation is essential because it helps you meet your health and safety legal duties.

Acting as a competent health and safety advisor, your appointed person should have the skills, knowledge and experience to recognise hazards, conduct risk assessments and be able to put the necessary controls in place to make the workplace safer. Ultimately, this ensures that you’re able to protect your workers and members of the public from harm.

There are a large number of health and safety risks in the construction industry that could pose serious dangers to your workforce or any other persons on site. These include accidents from working at height, moving objects and vehicles, noise-related injuries, manual handling, asbestos, and electrical accidents, as well as slips, trips and falls.

On top of putting workers’ lives at risk, businesses could lose a significant amount of man hours and productivity if they fail to address these issues. Furthermore, there can be legal complications, including fines from the HSE or a ban from operating altogether. This is why managing health and safety in construction is so important.

HSE competent person guidelines

If you have five or more people in your business, you must appoint someone as the competent person to oversee health and safety. According to the HSE competent person guidelines, it’s not mandatory for your appointed competent person to have formal qualifications. They are not required by law to have any specific formal training. However, training programmes can be beneficial and could help to make your workplace a safer place for all.

The person you choose to appoint can be any of the following:

  • Yourself
  • One or more of your employees
  • A health and safety consultant outside of your business

Competent person vs. external consultant

Appointing someone as your competent person doesn’t have to be a member of staff or someone already within your organisation. The HSE competent person guidelines specify that an external person, such as a competent health and safety advisor or contractor, can also be hired to fill this role.

By using health and safety consultancy services, you can ensure that risks in your workplace are managed correctly. While the HSE advises that a competent person within your workforce can be preferable if they have the appropriate skills and training, there are many benefits to using a health and safety consultant too.

If your business large, complex or high risk and you don’t have the competence to manage health and safety in-house, considering health and safety consultancy services is must. It isn’t always practical or cost-effective for companies to employ a permanent health and safety person, but hiring a health and safety consultant can give you the flexibility that you need.

At The Safety Maintenance Company, we can offer a one-off or annual health and safety consultancy service to suit your needs and your budget.

To find out more, call 0113 257 0842 or drop us an email at [email protected].