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Competent Advice

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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’.

But 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 persons 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 cannot avoid their Health and Safety (H&S) responsibilities, but you probably manage most aspects of your business yourself, or with help from your staff.  However, if you are not confident that you or your staff have the necessary skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience 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 for external assistance, which include:

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

Deciding what help you need is very important, and unless you are clear about what you want, you probably will not 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 and Fire Safety 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/consultancy is adequately insured.
      • e.g. Public Liability insurance, Employers’ Liability insurance, Professional Indemnity insurance.

    Thomas Safety Services Ltd are approved by TRADING STANDARDS, have relevant insurance, 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.

    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.

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