Health & Safety: What is a Competent Person and Why You Need One

UK legislation places a legal obligation on employers to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment. In order to fulfil your legal obligations, you need to nominate someone ‘competent’

James Rowland

Commercial Director James leads Account Management, Sales and Marketing at Neathouse Partners.


09 October 2023


12 June 2024
2 min read

Why You Need a Competent Person

UK legislation places a legal obligation on employers to provide employees with a safe and healthy work environment.

Furthermore, you are required to protect visitors, contractors and members of the public visiting the premises. 

This requirement to have a competent person extends to every workplace no matter how small or large your company is.

Read the Regulations here: Regulation 7 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

As an employer, in order to fulfil your legal obligations, you need someone ‘competent’, that is with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience of health and safety policy and procedures.

Defining a 'Competent Person'

The HSE defines a Competent Person as follows:

“A competent person is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly.”

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

What Should a Competent Person Do?

The Competent Person should assist the employer to ensure the legal requirements of health and safety law are met.

At Neathouse, we do this by providing unlimited access to our consultants, who can advise on all aspects of your business, including how to keep your employees safe, how to prevent workplace accidents and injuries, and how to ensure that you are meeting your legal obligations.

As part of our service we will make sure your documentation is compliant.

We’ll make sure your company is up-to-date on every aspect of health and safety compliance necessary for your business.

We’re here to help you create a safe environment for your employees so they can get their job done without worrying about their personal wellbeing or the wellbeing of others around them.

As part of our service, we can complete your risk assessments for you.

We know how important it is to be compliant with all legal obligations.

That’s why we provide you with a full guide to your business’s legal obligations in relation to health and safety, including what to do when it comes to risk assessments.

Examples of Health & Safety Responsibilities a 'Competent Person' Can Help You Manage

Competent person inspecting a factory

  • Prepare or assist in the writing and reviewing of a Health & Safety policy.
  • Identify potential or actual risks and hazard and take steps to minimise or eliminate the risk where possible.
  • Put safe systems of work into place e.g. for manual handling and for working with computers (DSE).
  • Ensure requirements for first aid and for fire safety are met.
  • Ensure safeguards are in place for COSHH, legionella and asbestos.
  • Ensure ventilation, temperature, lighting, toilet, washing and rest facilities satisfy health, safety and welfare standards.
  • Understand the correct procedure for reporting work-placed accidents and diseases (RIDDOR).
  • Be aware of extra considerations needed for expectant mothers, lone workers, mobile and home workers.
  • Identify and arrange appropriate training for staff to allow them to work safely.

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