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Page last reviewed: 10/21/2013
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Competent Person

The term "Competent Person" is used in many OSHA standards and documents. An OSHA "competent person" is defined as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them" [29 CFR 1926.32(f)].By way of training and/or experience, a competent person is knowledgeable of applicable standards, is capable of identifying workplace hazards relating to the specific operation, and has the authority to correct them. Some standards add additional specific requirements which must be met by the competent person.

There are currently no specific standards regarding competent persons.

OSHA Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards, preambles to final rules (background to final rules), directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to competent persons.

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)

  • 1915 Subpart A, General provisions
  • 1915 Subpart B, Confined and enclosed spaces and other dangerous atmospheres in shipyard employment
    • 1915.11, Scope, applications, and definitions applicable to this subpart
    • 1915.12, Precautions and the order of testing before entering confined and enclosed spaces and other dangerous atmospheres
    • 1915.13, Cleaning and other cold work
    • 1915.14, Hot work
    • 1915.15, Maintenance of safe conditions
    • Appendix A, Compliance assistance guidelines for confined and enclosed spaces and other dangerous atmospheres

  • 1915 Subpart C, Surface preparation and preservation
  • 1915 Subpart D, Welding, cutting and heating
    • 1915.53, Welding, cutting and heating in way of preservative coatings
    • 1915.54, Welding, cutting and heating of hollow metal containers and structures not covered by 1915.12
    • 1915.57, Uses of fissionable material in ship repairing and shipbuilding

  • 1915 Subpart E, Scaffolds, ladders and other working surfaces
  • 1915 Subpart G, Gear and equipment for rigging and materials handling
  • 1915 Subpart H, Tools and related equipment
    • 1915.135, Powder actuated fastening tools
    • 1915.136, Internal combustion engines, other than ship's equipment

  • 1915 Subpart K, Portable, unfired pressure vessels, drums and containers, other than ship's equipment
    • 1915.172, Portable air receivers and other unfired pressure vessels

  • 1915 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances
    • 1915.1001, Asbestos
      • Appendix F, Work practices and engineering controls for class I asbestos operations - Non-mandatory

Longshoring (29 CFR 1918)

Gear Certification (29 CFR 1919)

  • 1919.2, Definition of terms

  • 1919.26, Visual inspection before tests

  • 1919.27, Unit proof tests-winches, derricks and gear accessory thereto

  • 1919.28, Unit proof tests-cranes and gear accessory thereto

  • 1919.29, Limitations on safe working loads and proof loads

  • 1919.30, Examinations subsequent to unit tests

  • 1919.31, Proof tests-loose gear

  • 1919.32, Specially designed blocks and components

  • 1919.33, Proof tests-wire rope

  • 1919.34, Proof tests after repairs or alterations

  • 1919.35, Order of tests

  • 1919.36, Heat treatment

  • 1919.37, Competent persons

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

Preambles to Final Rules


Standard Interpretations

Additional Information


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