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Competent Person

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Ashanti
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Competent Person

Post by Ashanti »

I have found out from my work that they want me to be the H&S competent person when our consultant leaves and I, hopefully, pass the NEBOSH certificate. I have explained that I would need to be able to outsource help and that the consultant should be asked if a Certificate would be sufficient. I do have plenty of experience of the work done here but could in no way describe myself as an H&S expert. On the other hand I don't want to refuse the position because I think I need more qualifications to be told that they will employ a new person who already has a Diploma.

In an office environment would my Certificate, experience and outside help in case of emergency be sufficient? I should add that I feel confident enough about doing the job.
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Jack Kane
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Post by Jack Kane »

Hey Ashanti,

I think this is a huge debate to say the least. I'm sure there are many people out there with a full list of qualifications who should be classed as competent, but in truth, are the exact opposite indeed.

I feel competence is a mixture of many things: qualifications, experience, attitude towards health and safety in the first place, does the person realise his/her limits to their health and safety knowledge and when to ask those above for help. I believe that knowing your own limits is a crucial factor in deciding who is 'competent'. i.e. I know the advice I would give in a warehouse or factory floor regarding say, fork-lifts will be correct and 'competent', but put me in a chemical plant such as Grangemouth as HSE manager and I would be extremely incompetent to say the least. This I know.

I don't know if you keep watch on the IOSH forums, but there was a post on exactly this topic, you can read it here........

http://www.iosh.co.uk/index.cfm?go=disc ... 99&page=21


Ashanti, personally I think you should be ok for the job. My old workplace had no health and safety commitment whatsoever, and when the inspector called, he sent one of the managers on the NEBOSH cert course. One of the failings the inspector picked up on was the lack of a 'competent' person for health and safety. Therefore, I would imagine that sending this manager on the course enabled the improvement required to be fulfilled.

I know that IOSH are having talks on setting 'competence' standards, which I welcome, but how the hell do they do that?!?!

I'd be interested to hear thoughts from others on this matter, let's hear what you all think.
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Ashanti
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Post by Ashanti »

Thanks Jack that clears things up a lot for me .salut . I would like to go on to the Diploma but earning money to pay the bills has to come first. As it says in the thread there is a difference in the levels of competence required in a nuclear reactor plant compared to an office environment.
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Big Bob
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Post by Big Bob »

I agree with you Jack. I work for a national company and our safety adviser for Scotland has on paper the general certificate and some IOSH passes. His safety responsibility started off as an add on to his main job. He now has over 30 years experience, is a very level headed and practical person and certainly competent in his field. I guess all the safety pricipals are the same but applied to the environment you work in. Having the qualification is just the start of building experience. No??
Still going round in squares..........
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Jack Kane
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Post by Jack Kane »

Big Bob wrote:Having the qualification is just the start of building experience.
Excellent way to put it Big Bob. That comment says so much in the world of health and safety.


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otto
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Competence

Post by otto »

My opinion (for what it's worth) is that training gives you the underpinning knowledge to allow you to become competent in your chosen field.
The best analagy I have seen is that training is like a sword, I'll still be able to inflict damage with a blunt sword (training but no experience) however, when the sword is honed (with experience) it becomes lethal.
No training or experience and you are just using your fists.
I think the NEBOSH cert will give you an excellent background for a low risk environment, such as an office, diploma level and above are way over the needs for such a work environment. In some cases you may be able to get away with IOSH managing safely to give you a foundation stone for your knowledge.
Even in hazardous environments I'd rather have someone with basic qualifications and experience than a Dip 2 and limited experience. :)
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Jack Kane
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Re: Competence

Post by Jack Kane »

otto wrote:Even in hazardous environments I'd rather have someone with basic qualifications and experience than a Dip 2 and limited experience. :)
Good point otto, which brings on the old catch-22 situation for many people........can't get a job without experience, but can't get experience without a job.........

So far I think all comments are just as valid as the next. I do fear that when I finish my diploma in 2 years time, will it guarantee me a job? I know it won't! I will still require a 'break'.

I would be wary of being an employer of H & S professionals at this time as there is always the fact that the onus is on them to make sure they employ 'competent' personnel.

Good analogy of the sword otto :D
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