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All businesses whether they are ‘not for profit’ or ‘for profit’ have a legal obligation to have access to a source of ‘competent advice’ and to appoint a ‘competent person’.

Why do employers require ‘competent’ health and safety (H&S) advice?

Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires all employers to appoint someone ‘competent’ to help you, the employer, meet your Health and Safety (H&S) duties.

Part 2 (18) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that a ‘competent person’ be appointed to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.

Part 3(8)(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 requires allocation of sufficient resources, such as a competent person.

What is a ‘competent person’?

It is vital that the person(s) appointed are ‘competent’.

A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience to manage Health and Safety (H&S), Fire Safety and/or Construction Safety.

Who can be a ‘competent person’?

You, the employer, could appoint one or a combination of the following:

  • Yourself,
  • One or more of your workers,
  • Someone from outside your business.  e.g. H&S Consultant.

Employers can’t avoid their Health and Safety (H&S) responsibilities.  You probably manage most aspects of your business yourself, or with help from your staff.  However, if you are not confident of your ability to manage all aspects of Health and Safety (H&S) in-house, you should seek external assistance.

There are a number of different sources of advice, which include:

  • Consultants registered on the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR).OSHCR Consultant
    • Note: To be admitted on the OSHCR website, members must achieve the minimum standard that is set at;
      • a degree level qualification,
      • at least two years’ experience, and
      • active engagement in a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme.
  • Trade associations.
  • Safety groups.
  • Trade unions.
  • Local councils.
  • Health and safety training providers.
  • Health and safety equipment suppliers.

How do I decide on an external ‘competent person’?

Deciding what help you need is very important.  Unless you are clear about what you want, you probably won’t get the help you need.

Also, unlike a gas fitter who has must be GASsafe registered, or an MOT centre that must be DVSA registered, H&S consultants do not currently need to be registered or be a member of a professional body!

When choosing an external consultancy to assist you with your legal H&S, Fire safety and/or Construction safety advice, it is imperative that you ‘vet’ them thoroughly prior to engaging them.

Employers should check:

  • The competence of a consultant.
    • e.g. Evidence of relevant qualifications, training, knowledge.
  • That they are a member of a professional H&S body, such as the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (IOSH).

Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner

  • The consultant is adequately insured.
    • e.g. Public Liability insurance, Employers’ Liability insurance, Professional Indemnity insurance.

Thomas Safety Services Ltd are an accredited SSIP worksafe consultancy and our MD (David Thomas) is a Chartered Fellow member of IOSH (CFIOSH), has a Masters Degree in Safety, Health and Environmental Management and is a registered OSHCR Consultant.

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Competent Corporate H&S, Fire Safety and/or Construction Safety advice

Thomas Safety Services Ltd provides competent Corporate Health and Safety Advice, Fire Safety Advice and Construction Safety Advice to our clients, so if you are seeking to appoint an external H&S consultant, please contact us.