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Competent Person

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julesastevens
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Competent Person

Post by julesastevens » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:02 am

Hi All,

Just a quick question.

What qualification do you require to be a 'Competent Person'?

I have NEBOSH and currently undertaking an online NVQ. Do I need to wait until I've completed the course and become a GradIOSH member?

Appreciate any help you can give.
.bounce :wave: :lol:

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fs1982
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Re: Competent Person

Post by fs1982 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:51 pm

A qualification on its own does not make you a competent person - the qualification on its own MAY give you some of the base line knowledge to be competent but it also requires a mix of experience and other skills.

The level of knowledge, skills and experience required to be a competent person really depends on the type of work place you are going to be the competent person for - the skills set for a competent person in a low-risk purely administrative office will be very different to the skills set required for the competent person in an high-risk oil refinery. Your NGC might be ok for the prior but definitely not for the latter.

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Elf&Safety
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Re: Competent Person

Post by Elf&Safety » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:00 pm

Your question simply can't be answered... what level of compentence are you trying to show? Manager? Officer? Explosive atmosphere specialist?? Competence depends on vairous factors, training, experience etc...

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Re: Competent Person

Post by ohreally » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:58 am

Doesn't the qualification simply meet the academic requirements towards GradIOSH, other aspects will also need to be met.

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Alexis
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Re: Competent Person

Post by Alexis » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:16 am

ohreally wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:58 am
Doesn't the qualification simply meet the academic requirements towards GradIOSH, other aspects will also need to be met.
Agree ohreally. .salut
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bernicarey
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Re: Competent Person

Post by bernicarey » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:53 am

Hello Jules

A 'Competent Person' is defined in the Management Regs s7(5) as
A person shall be regarded as competent ...... where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the measures referred to .....
or in the RRFSO s18(5) as
A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of this article where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
So you don't need any formal qualifications, you just need to know the subject matter to an appropriate degree.

Unfortunately, far too many people are out there practising as H&S or Fire Safety Advisors at a level beyond their 'training and experience'. What is really worrying is that while there are undoubtedly some 'cowboys' out there, in the majority of cases these people are simply ignorant of their own lack of knowledge and think they are doing a good job.

By way of illustration, I once encountered a problem with a 2 story Church Hall complex, a Grade II Listed building, which I just happened to visit because my Charity client rented some rooms there.
I was not happy to see that the fire escape from upstairs, where they held their Sunday School with children as young as 2 or 3, was via a wooden sash window (which of course sticks) and down a metal hooped ladder about 7ft, before going across a flat roof and down some steps.
I voiced my grave concerns to the 'Minister' in charge and was aggressively rebutted with 'We have a fireman in our congregation who says this is fine; the children love having a fire practice out of the window.'
When I reported them to the local FRS, they were given severe restrictions on the way they used the building until they sorted out the means of escape. So much for their in-house fireman advice.
http://www.belvoirsafety.co.uk Tomorrow - your reward for being safe today...

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Messy
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Re: Competent Person

Post by Messy » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:25 pm

The reality is you do not have to be 'competent ' to complete a fire risk assessment.

The FRA has to be suitable and sufficient and anyone such as a fire alarm contractor, electrician or trainer who is assisting in undertaking the preventative and protective measures (as determined by the FRA) must be competent.

Post Grenfell this is bound to change

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Re: Competent Person

Post by AdamJ » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:25 am

Jules, you have nailed one of the great woolly areas in H&S, 'competent' is used everywhere, but then more often than not when associated HSE guidance is issued to clarify it the HSE Gods just, rather uselessly, use more words to say exactly the same thing. "A person shall be regarded as competent where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the measures referred to" is basically just another definition of competent, is the HSE using more words to say the same thing and doesn't help at all.

It's been a long-standing bug-bear of mine in H&S for decades now - if the Gods that rule us all want to define who should do a job, then go the whole hog and define it properly so there is a clear answer to the question, and if necessary introduce both academic and practical skills examinations to certify it properly. Until then, I would define 'competent' as "someone is perfectly competent to do a job and gets on with it to everyone's satisfaction until chance plays a part and something goes wrong at which point the fingers start pointing and their competence to do the job is now questioned".

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Re: Competent Person

Post by stephen1974 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:58 pm

It certainly is a tough one isn't it. At what point does experience become competence?
I once worked for a company where the H&S consultant had put in place abysmal training documentation for a piece of machinary and there was an accident. The Local Authority slapped a prohbition notice on the equipment for every but myself whilst new training material was produced and training conducted for staff. The only reason I was allowed to use it was 8 years experience. Would 5 years have made me competent? 2 years? 1 year?

Currently the company I am with would like to use me in a roll offering inspection services to other companies. On this issue, I am NOT a competent person as its a new area for me, but they seem to think a few months and thats all I need. Nope. Not going to happen.

FRA's are something I have done before, and just went through a decent qualification as well, but I would only be happy doing buildings I understand. Leisure facilities, no problem, a block of flats, no thanks.

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Re: Competent Person

Post by Elf&Safety » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:58 am

Does even training show competence? Did the training have a test at the end to assess what has been learnt and understood? Did the person listen? Did they use their training once complete?

I held a risk assessment training course, virtually everyone on the course said it was rubbish; which i agreed with. But they had technically been trained in risk assessment so were they now competent?

But if after years of doing a job, you didn't know how to do it properly i would be worried. However; maybe they were never shown the right way to do the job all those years ago!! Now i've written that... i just thought but what about all the drivers on the road who have been driving 30 years but are absolutely awful drivers and certainly not competant!! :shock:

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Re: Competent Person

Post by stephen1974 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:11 pm

No, training doesn't make someone competent because training can never cover every eventuallity. In the example I mentioned above, the LA insisted I create the new training from the manufacturers operating manual, which is the correct way to do things. However, the situation that lead to all this wasn't covered by the operators manual, which the LA found interesting. My experience of the equipment however allowed me to put in place additional training to cover and number of scenarios the manual simply didnt contain.

In regards to risk assessing. Knowing how to risk assess doesnt make you a competent person to risk assess anything and everything because training only tells you HOW to risk asssess, not WHAT to risk assess.

I've written hundreds of risk assessments, but if someone said risk assess the removal of a car engine, I wouldnt have a clue. I could work with someone who knows how to do it and write and assessment that way though.

What you tend to get, especially in big companies, is generic 'coverall' risk assessments which only cover easily identifiable hazards (Slips trips, falls from height, manual handling etc) but never identifies unusual and unique risks.

Competency is a combination of factors, training, understanding, experience.

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