The term Competent Person is an important one and a key player in the safety of any company on the job site. There are many OSHA standards that discuss the need for a competent person to make decisions about work place safety of the job from Scaffolds to Excavations and electrical work. Here is what OSHA says about a individual that is designated a “Competent Person”:
The term “Competent Person” is used in many OSHA standards and documents. An OSHA
“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” [29 CFR 1926.32(f)].
By way of training and/or experience, a competent person is knowledgeable of applicable
standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation and
has the authority to correct them.
Some standards add additional specific requirements which must be met by the competent
Is the competent person a manager, supervisor, crew leader or another position of authority
within the company? The answer is yes and no; a competent person as stated above must have
knowledge of the subject they are working in. That means not just experience, it means training
about the OSHA standards that they are competent for, the ability to identify hazards and the
authority to stop work or re-direct employees to keep them safe. The competent person also has
to be designated by the employer, (usually appointed by writing on a company letter head