Who is a “Competent Person” as defined by OSHA?

Who is a “Competent Person” as defined by OSHA?

Alright. We get enough questions about this that it’s time to clear up the big mystery: what is a “Competent Person” and how does OSHA define “Competent Person”?

It's not a certification. It's not a card you carry.

Officially: an OSHA "competent person" is defined as:

There’s good reason for the confusion; the term "Competent Person" is used in many OSHA standards and documents, yet there are currently no specific standards regarding competent persons: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/competentperson/

So OSHA uses the term but has no specific standard to provide insight into ‘who is’ or ‘how to’ obtain the designation.

In other words, it’s a vague combination of experience and know-how arbitrarily assigned by OSHA, along with agency or accountability; if a hazard is recognized, the “competent person” can take action to mitigate it.

A “competent person” is an employee who is able to recognize hazards associated with a particular task, and has the ability to mitigate those hazards—it’s that simple.

Many OSHA construction standards require someone onsite—such as a foreman, supervisor or other employee—to be designated as a competent person.

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