Do you need a Competent Persons for Health and Safety?
Employers are legally required to ensure that people who have health, safety and welfare responsibilities in the workplace are competent. There is no statutory requirement to be a technically qualified H&S professional, just to have the necessary competence.
This duty comes from the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR), Regulations 7. These Regulations require employers to appoint competent persons to assist them in meeting their legal obligations for health, safety and welfare of employees
The Duties imposed on employers by MHSWR Regulation 7
- Reg 7(1) requires employers to appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in meeting his legal duties
- Reg 7(2) requires the employer to make arrangements for ensuring adequate co-operation between the persons so appointed
- Reg 7(3) requires the employer to ensure that the number of persons, the time available to them to undertake their functions and the means at their disposal are all adequate
- Reg 7(5) says that a person shall be regarded as competent where they have sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable them to properly assist in undertaking the measures required
Do you have internal health and safety advice?
The type and level of health and safety advice you require will, in part, be influenced by your internal resource. Do you have someone who is appropriately experienced and qualified to co-ordinate your health and safety? Are they suitable to act as your dedicated competent person? If you do not have anyone sufficiently qualified or, if your business is high risk and complex, you may need to utilise someone externally as your competent person. In this instance that external support will need to be on an ongoing annual or monthly retained basis.
Do you need Ongoing support?
Choosing health and safety advice on a retained basis can be a big plus in ensuring compliance. Demonstrating that you have professional and qualified advice from a sector expert shows not only that your business is committed to a positive health and safety culture but that you have access to the latest legislative advice and best practice. Retained health and safety advice can be implemented on an annual or monthly basis i.e. the cover agreed with your provider should be appropriate to the size and risk level of your business. It does not need to be excessive or over complicated.
Remember – As the employer, managing health and safety will still be your legal duty, even if you use someone from outside your business. BUT We can assist you to ensure full compliance.