Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1926.450(b); 1926.451(f)(7); 1926 Subpart L|
|OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.|
Competent person means 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.In the preamble to the scaffold standard, OSHA stated that:
the criteria for a "competent person" depend on the situation in which the competent person is working.2The preamble discusses the types of background that might be required to be a competent person for the purposes of §1926.451(f)(7), a provision that relates to the inspection of scaffold and scaffold components. That discussion concluded by noting that:
[a] competent person must have training or knowledge in these areas in order to identify and correct hazards encountered in scaffold work. [Emphasis added.]Finally, in our letter to you dated May 21, 1999, the Agency stated:
The standard does not specify particular training requirements for competent persons. Instead, it defines a competent person in terms of capability.Thus, successful completion of a course does not, alone, necessarily establish an individual as a "competent person" for a number of reasons. By its terms, the definition of a "competent person" compels the employer to select an employee based upon his or her capability to identify hazards. The course may not be sufficiently comprehensive with respect to the information needed to meet the knowledge requirement in the definition. Remember that the type and extent of the knowledge will vary with what is necessary to successfully perform the task required of the competent person in the standard. Also, the course may not adequately test the employee's understanding of the course material.
[t]he fact that they may have been well qualified to identify other safety hazards at that workplace, or at other workplaces, does not preclude us from [finding that the employees at issue were not "competent person[s]"].[ back to text ]
|Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.