The Importance of Employing a Health and Safety Competent Person for Your Business
Health and Safety Competent Person
Competence can generally be defined as the effective combination of skills, training and experience of a person which can be applied to perform a specific task in a safe manner. The competence of employees will determine to what extent they still have to be developed by means of information, training, supervision and instruction. As a business owner or employer conducting risk assessments, it is of utmost importance to employ a Health and Safety competent person as it is one of the most significant components of activities in the workplace.
When you use the services of contractors, it is your own responsibility to ensure such contractors are competent for the role they have to fill. The competence level of a person only needs to relate to their direct job role; therefore, the level of competence needed for the employment of a Health and Safety competent person on a production site and that related to an office worker will vastly differ.
The difference between competence and a Health and Safety competent person
To assist you in meeting your health and safety responsibilities within the workplace, you cannot only determine a person’s level of competence. A Health and Safety competent person is one who possesses over the knowledge, skills and experience required to effectively manage the health and safety responsibilities of your company. The training and skills which bear reference to such individuals are described in the laws pertaining to health and safety in specific industries, and needs to be adhered to for good reason.
Sources from which you could employ a Health and Safety competent person
While you or some of your members of staff may be in a position to manage most features of the business, you may deem it necessary to employ a Health and Safety competent person who can manage the health and safety aspects related to the company. When you are of the opinion that this is an area that cannot be managed in-house, it may be essential to employ such skills from external sources including:
- Local councils;
- Trade unions;
- Safety groups;
- Registered consultants for OSH (Occupational Safety and health); and
- Suppliers of OSH equipment.
Ideas to consider before employing an external Health and Safety competent person
Before you appoint any source of external expertise, make sure that you know what level of health and safety your company need and be very clear on it. It is best advised to consider the following ideas:
- Ask the health and safety competent person in question to explain what they understand in terms of your requirements and how they will go about achieving your health and safety goals;
- Ask for proof of formal qualifications or hands-on experience within your specific industry. Also ask whether they are adequately insured.
- Make sure you get the best value for your company; after all, you have the health and safety of all your employers at stake.