Catch 22 ‘The Competent Person’ requirement

Small businesses are often caught in a trap as far as the requirement in law, to have a ‘Competent Person’ within the Company for Health and safety. Competence is based upon a few factors including training, experience, knowledge, skills etc but often comes down to one factor, ‘Are you actually trained to do the job?’

For many small business owners, especially within the Construction and Manufacturing sectors, where higher risks bring greater scrutiny, this means a stark choice between the following three options and brings more questions than answers:-

  1. Do I do a Nationally recognised training course such as IOSH managing safely, or NEBOSH General/Construction Certificate myself. Is that enough to make me Competent to deal with the health and safety issues that arise on a day to day basis? Can the Company afford me doing this both financially and in how much time I will be absent? Do I have enough on my plate already? Am I motivated enough to get involved in this area of the business?
  2. Do I train someone else in the Company to do this? Will they ‘grasp the nettle’ after doing the course? Will they pass the course? Will they just leave and get a better paid job using the qualification I paid for?
  3. Do I employ someone full-time or part-time to be the Company Safety Officer? Can we afford this step? Does the amount of work we have warrant this? Would this money be better invested in other areas of the business which would help it grow?

Very often the answer to all the above questions is a resounding NO. All the obvious answers do not seem to work for the individual Companies. So what is the alternative?

Many Companies ‘tag-on’ the health and safety role to another role such as HR or Accounts and this is then done reluctantly by the individual as an unofficial second job. The person does the best they can often using old forms and policies which were done by someone who long since left the company and at best are a temporary fix which has become long-term.

The far better option is for a small company to contract to a specialist health and safety Company who can tailor their requirements into a bespoke contract and which will provide exactly the right services at the right price to meet the needs of that company. They will then only be paying for the service it needs to fulfil its legal requirements and other services such as writing risk assessments, fire- risk-assessments , first aid training can be done as an add-on. In most cases the contract will involve a small monthly payment and will include the Health and safety Policy, Competent Advice and even a free Health and safety Audit.Unsure about competent advice then you can contact OJ Safety by Clicking Below or call us on 01924 261789.