Posted on: February 15, 2024

Becoming a Competent Person: The Power of Supervisor Training

Becoming a Competent Person: The Power of Supervisor Training

Thousands of people are killed or injured in the workplace every year. Being able to recognize a hazard before it causes harm can help reduce these tragedies. This is where the role of a competent person comes in. These individuals serve as the foundation for maintaining and improving workplace safety standards. Read more below, where we will further define what a competent person is, their responsibilities, and how to become one.

What is a Competent Person?

If you work in any Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) industry, particularly those involved in OSHA, you have probably heard the term “competent person” before. A competent person, in the context of EHS, is someone who possesses the knowledge, experience, and qualifications to perform specific tasks related to the assessment and control of workplace hazards. These individuals are designated to oversee various safety aspects within an organization, including risk assessment, hazard identification, and emergency response planning.

Many industries have standards that necessitate the presence of a qualified individual, including:

  • Construction
  • General Industry
  • Maritime

What are a Competent Person’s Responsibilities?

Every 101 minutes, one person dies in the workplace in the United States. This does not take into account the number of severe or even paralyzing injuries that occur on a regular basis. Workplace safety should always be a top priority. Every workplace, whether in construction, maritime, railroad or even an office setting, has hazards that must be addressed.

Fortunately, worker deaths have decreased significantly in the previous 50 years as safety has been a larger emphasis. Most injuries are preventable and can be further avoided if we devote adequate time and attention to safety training and designate competent persons in the workplace. Broken down, a competent person must be:

  • Familiar with the Company's Practices and Procedures - A competent person needs industry experience and familiarity with company safety procedures, ensuring a solid understanding of their field of work and how to protect against accidents and injuries.
  • Capable of Identifying Hazards - While some workplaces, like construction sites, may have a wider range of hazards, competent persons are still needed where there are fewer identifiable threats. On top of knowing company standards, a competent person understands what is and isn't harmful, as well as the company's standards. This could involve a thorough knowledge of machinery, accident records, or hazardous areas. It may also include familiarity with fire escape routes, active shooter procedures, and ergonomic dangers. New employees will look to you for solutions to problems and for feedback on procedures. From there, you can ensure that everyone is aware of and follows corporate safety rules.
  • Authority to Eliminate Hazards - As a competent person, you must also be able to show leadership skills when dealing with potentially hazardous situations. Competent persons are authorized to make alterations to ensure a safe job. Supervisors may frequently delegate an experienced or qualified employee to function as a competent person and supervise the safety of specific tasks. At times, supervisors or other leaders will function as the competent person on a job site, ensuring the safety of their employees.

What Training Do I Need to Become a Competent Person?

The criteria for a competent person vary depending on the workplace. However, in every instance, it is the responsibility of the employer to identify a competent person on a job site or in a facility. While third-party training services, such as those offered by, can give you the background knowledge and skills you need, only your employer can make you a competent person for your workplace.

Before ever selecting a competent person, employers must evaluate a candidate's abilities to ensure they have the necessary information for real-world scenarios. If requirements are not met, the job and title should be immediately taken away. Don’t forget, lives hang in the balance.

Get Started on Competent Person Training

If you’re looking to advance your career by becoming a competent person, has you covered. We offer up-to-date courses that will give you all the necessary information needed to become a competent person. Our courses can be completed from the convenience of your own home, so there is no need to uproot your schedule. Check out our catalog and get started right away!