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What is a Competent Person?

What is a Competent Person?

In your time in the workplace, you may have heard someone referred to as a “competent person.” This title refers to the legal obligation an employee holds to identify and respond to workplace hazards.

This designation can be a bit confusing, especially since OSHA has no specific standard regarding a competent person. Really, it comes down to the ability to recognize and mitigate hazards in the workplace.

For example, an employee might have more than 20 years of experience on the job and a related degree. However, if they cannot properly recognize or neutralize hazards in the field, they shouldn’t be deemed a competent person.

What Does OSHA Say?

Even though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no specific standard for becoming a competent person, they do have a specific definition of what they are:

“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)).

Obviously, a competent person has a lot of responsibility. It’s their job to keep the workers and worksite in a safe condition for operating.

How to Become a Competent Person

As stated earlier, there is no specific OSHA standard for becoming a competent person in the workplace. OSHA merely recommends training and/or experience in each work environment to qualify.

While completing a Train The Trainer or a designated Competent Person training course could make you knowledgeable enough to earn this designation on your worksite, hands-on experience is also important. In fact, training and experience are the two most common reasons for an employer to designate a worker as competent. It’s ultimately up to the employer to determine whether an employee is considered a competent person.

For more information on Train the Trainer and Competent Person training courses, visit us at

Good luck and stay safe!