Depending on who you ask, a Competent Person can mean a number of things.  For example, there is a Competent Person Register which was introduced by the UK Government to allow individuals or organisations to self-certify their work as complying with Building Regulations, this being an alternative to submitting a Building Notice or using an Approved Inspector.

If you were to ask a Contractor, what a Competent Person is, the most common response would be “someone who is good at what they do”.   This is probably not an unreasonable assumption, however, in Health and Safety terms a Competent Person has a different and significant legal meaning.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 were introduced to reinforce the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  These regulations state that employers must appoint a Competent Person to enable them to meet their health and safety obligations; a Competent Person being someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.

As a Business Owner or Employer, you are required by law to, appoint a Competent Person to help you meet your health and safety responsibilities.  Depending on the nature of your business and the level of risks involved, you may be able to deal with straight forward health and safety issues, either by yourself or by appointing one or more employees to assist you.  Where health and safety issues become more complex or specialised, or you simply don’t have the necessary expertise, then you may need to seek external assistance/advice.

As a Business Owner myself, one’s focus on delivering a quality product, to budget and on time can sometimes restrict your vision and deflect you from the other things which are equally as significant.  It can be difficult to remind yourself of all the other important aspects of your business, health and safety being just one of them.   Ensuring that you have suitable arrangements in place to manage health and safety should always be a priority, and having access to good, sound competent advice is a real must.  Failure to do so can result in unnecessary or ineffective arrangements and expense, affect employee morale and have a negative impact on your business and its reputation.

Marpal have introduced a Competent Person Scheme, which is designed to provide businesses with the Health and Safety support and advice required to enable them to meet their health and safety obligations. We believe that Business Owners/Managers should be free to devote their time to what they do best.

Our objective is to be an integral part of your business, providing you with the health and safety support and assistance you require to allow you to manage and grow your business.

For further details on Marpal’s Health and Safety Competent Persons Scheme, please contact Paul Littlewood on 01332 668877 or via email at plittlewood@marpal.co.uk.