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competent person

  • Wearing More or Less Hats

    It’s 9 pm, and as I’m leaving the lumber yard with some trim boards, nails and some ¼ round, my wife calls and asks me to pick up some milk and cereal. I walk dutifully back into the store, and the clerk greets me while asking if I had forgotten the nails. “NO” I mumbled not too happy to be out at this hour, “but can you tell me where I can find the milk and cereal?” “Sure” she replies cheerfully. “You’ll find it in aisle 12 next to the frozen pizzas, take your time we’re open till 10 tonight”. You’ve got to be kidding me. Lumber yards used to be lumberyards, grocery stores were grocery stores and at gas stations you bought gas and a candy bar. Times have really changed.

    All this reminded me that even in industry things have really changed. We’re all wearing more Safety-Professionalhats than ever before and trying to satisfy more needs with more responsibilities. It now becomes imperative that you come prepared with a plan. As a safety advocates we find that having a written plan is only the tip of the iceberg when trying to satisfy OSHA’s general duty Clause (Pub. Law 91-596 Section 5(a)(1)). I’m sure there isn’t a safety person or HR person out there that doesn’t struggle occasionally trying to cover all of the bases of this clause which is non-specific, but specific saying that just in case you’ve missed something , they didn’t. The hazards encountered today are numerous and more are being discovered as we speak. Finding, not just the proper training, but also the time to train, and budget, all becomes an uphill battle. So education and training starts with you, the HR, safety person, competent person, trainer, or all of the above. There is more education available for you through OSHA, numerous college campuses, seminars, and technical colleges. That’s a good thing, and there are more young professionals choosing this career today with more education. You might consider hiring them as interns before graduation, and grooming them in your application specific industry.

    Sourcing the information however has become a little less daunting with more resources available including “online” training, and more up to date videos. If you are still shorthanded and need help with training, auditing, or need a risk assessment, there are professionals providing that as well. The key to all of this is of course, is realizing or admitting what you can and cannot do, and getting the help, and tools necessary to keep your employees safe.

    I am thankful that I didn’t need to go out and find milk and cereal. I could actually get it right there in the lumberyard with my ¼ round, nails and trim. So sometimes change is a good thing, and wearing one less hat would be nice too.

    At SafetyInstruction.com we try to make things as easy as possible, offering both OSHA compliant training and safety supplies, giving you everything you need to ensure the safety of your employees, while promoting and maintaining a safety culture.

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  • My Mother: A Tribute to Competent Person Training

    I grew up in a family of twelve children, five girls and seven brothers. Little did I realize at the time that apparently OSHA had visited my house and declared “Mom” a 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. This definition is taken from OSHA.

    It seemed that Mom was always on the spot to guide us in the direction of sanity. She taught us some of the finer points of working safely in the kitchen, and of course the rewards of taste testing to make sure it was safe for the others. Cleaning was also on her radar, including sanitation. Right to know issues were whose turn it was to do dishes, or sweep the floors. Everybody was involved in cherry picking and pitting for pies and jam. The older boys had garage duty, or loading coal into the furnace hopper. Of course Dad was the force in the repair department, including repairing and glazing windows before putting on the storms in time for winter. Dad also inspected and repaired our 4 buckle boots. Yes PPE was a part of the routine. We didn’t necessarily have safety meetings but were reminded that if we were going out to play ball, to cross the road safely, make sure the dog didn’t follow us, and to look out for your little brothers. I’m not too sure what Mom told the girls except that she would flash the light on and off if they were in the driveway too long with a boyfriend. Mom passed away this past fall, but left us with a lifetime of memories. Competent Person training was passed down. Now I get to be the competent person in my own home, with my wife’s blessing of course.

    Competent person training is a big deal. Why train a competent person? Employers are required by law to comply with a number of OSHA regulations. These regulations are defined and driven by hazards which exist in your workplace. Compliance with these laws indicate that a “Competent Person” must be assigned the responsibility of identifying existing and predictable hazards, and has been given the authority to take corrective action. If you are a Human resource manager, Maintenance Manager, safety program Administrator, Hospital administrator, on a safety committee, process engineer, department manager, Risk manager, or anyone having safety management duties. You should have this type of training. It covers: Introduction to OSHA, components of an effective safety Program, OSHA Record keeping fundamentals, , Intro to Industrial hygiene/toxicology, Job hazard analysis & Procedures, accident investigation, PPE, Hazcom & GHS, LOTO, confined space. Along with that training the trainer could also be a part of this type of training. Seek out, find and enroll in the training you need. Competent Person Training, Your Mother would be proud.

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