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Health and Safety Competent Person

Competent Person Service

Leeds | York | Bradford | Yorkshire | UK

What is a Health and Safety Competent Person?

A health and safety competent person is someone appointed to ensure that a company’s health and safety responsibilities are being met. It’s their job to recognise the health and safety risks within your workplace and identify sensible and suitable solutions. A competent person’s aim is to achieve and maintain a safe working environment while helping your organisation comply with health and safety laws and regulations.

A competent person isn't someone who employers can simply hand over all of their health and safety responsibilities to. Instead, it is someone who can offer assistance and advice, who can point the employer in the right direction and let them know what they need to do while 

Employers are advised to appoint at least one competent person in the workplace. There are over 100 health and safety regulations, so it’s highly beneficial to appoint multiple competent persons to assist with different regulations.

Why Do You Need a Health and Safety Competent Person?

Having a competent person(s) in your workplace is a legal requirement. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that “every employer shall… appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by Part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.”

This applies to all employers, regardless of size or sectors. Whether you employ 1 person or 10,000 people, whether you’re a low-risk office-based business or a high-risk manufacturing company, you must appoint at least one suitable individual to take on this role.

Failure to appoint a competent person(s) can lead to a prosecution for breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which can, in turn, lead to intervention by your regulatory authority, a fine or, in extreme circumstances, imprisonment.

What are the Requirements of a Health and Safety Competent Person?

A competent person must have the skills, knowledge and experience to assist the employer in health and safety requirements. Your competent person(s) must be capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the workplace and have authorisation to quickly implement corrective measures to eliminate them.

A competent person must tick the following boxes:

  • Relevant training, such as a course accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
  • Applicable knowledge that can be implemented in practical, real-life situations.
  • Skills and technical ability to develop solutions to health and safety problems.
  • Practical experience.
  • Familiarity with your organisation, your work and your sector.
  • Authority to immediately correct any hazards, or to be able to influence someone who can.

The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the kind of help you need. If your business involves complex work or exists within a highly regulated industry, this will obviously require higher levels of training, knowledge and experience, as well as more in-depth problem-solving.

Where Can You Find a Health and Safety Competent Person?

While employers can appoint a health and safety competent person within their organisation (so long as that employer has the necessary competency), it’s advisable to hire a health and safety professional externally, especially if your business operates in a high-risk environment. This will provide you with peace of mind that your employees stay safe in the workplace while your business remains on the right side of the law. 

As qualified and chartered health and safety consultants, SMS Europe can act as your competent person. We have a number of consultants registered on the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register and will ensure that the health and safety advice you get is fit for purpose. We’ll make sure that it is:

  • Correct and accurate based on a thorough risk assessment.
  • Complies with the latest government regulations and standards.
  • Tailored to your individual business and sector.
  • Sensible and practical without overreacting to trivial issues.

What are the Benefits of Hiring a Health and Safety Competent Person?

  • Saves you time and effort -- By hiring a professional health and safety competent person, you can save time and money on training and development, giving you more time to focus on running your business.
  • Keeps your employees safe -- Appointing a health and safety competent person(s) helps to achieve and maintain a safe working environment for your entire staff.
  • Keeps your business compliant -- A health and safety competent person ensures that your company adheres to the latest government laws and regulations while avoiding any fines, punishments or other legal repercussions.
  • Boosts productivity -- You can reduce absenteeism caused by workplace accidents, injuries and incidents while eliminating potential risks and hazards that can disrupt your operations.
  • Peace of mind -- You can rest assured that your health and safety responsibilities are being met (and being handled by professionals) while knowing that your employees are kept safe and out of harm’s way.

Why Choose SMS Europe?

With over 25 years of experience in the industry, SMS Europe is one of the longest-established health and safety consultants in the North of England. We’re based in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire and provide health and safety services across Leeds, Bradford and York, as well as throughout Yorkshire and the rest of the UK.

With a team of passionate, experienced and fully-accredited health and safety professionals, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest quality of health and safety services. Having worked with a wide range of businesses across all different sectors, our expertise and knowledge allow us to provide health and safety advice that’s practical, compliant, solution-based and tailored to your organisation.

With SMS Europe, your health and safety needs are in safe hands. If you’re looking to hire a health and safety competent person in Leeds, Bradford or York, get in touch with us on 0845 224 0028 or at

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Health and Safety Competent Person

Health and Safety Competent Person

What is competent person?

What makes a person competent to advise organisation’s on health and safety matters?

A competent person is someone who has sufficient training, experience and knowledge and other personal qualities that will allow them to assist you effectively in understanding and meeting your health and safety responsibilities. Competent assistance is fundamental to manage risks sensibly. The Health and Safety Executive describes being competent as having:

Relevant knowledge, skills and experience; the ability to apply these appropriately, while recognising limits of your competence; and the necessary training to help you acquire and maintain competence.

‘Fit for purpose’

In line with HSE guidance and expectation on competent persons, SMS Europe as a provider of health and safety assistance, will ensure that our advice is:


  • Based on a correct assessment of the risk; and
  • Taking account of any established standards (eg exposure limits) and good practice


  • Directed at the actual circumstances found in your workplace under consideration;
  • Based on our knowledge and experience of the particular industry, process etc.; and
  • Tapping into the knowledge and experience of both the management and workers at the particular workplace.


  • Concentrating on practical action to control significant risks;
  • Not over­responding to trivial risks;
  • Not pursuing paperwork as an end in itself; and
  • Looking to control measures that are reasonably practicable.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations – Regulation 7

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations Regulation 7 states that every employer shall appoint a competent person to assist him in undertaking the measure he needs to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed on him by relevant statutory provisions.  As an employer, you can appoint a person internally, but if you don’t have someone with the skills, training or experience, Safety Management Services can provide this service for you.

Get in touch and we will be happy to explain our Competent Person Service to you in full.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Appoint A Competent Person?

The short answer is yes. Every organisation needs to have access to at least one competent person, this requirement is an explicit feature of Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety Work Regulations Act 1999. It doesn't matter how big or small your business is or what sector it is based in, you must have a competent person. 

Who Can Be A Competent Person?

A competent person can be anyone who is able to undertake a risk assessment, spot hazards and identify ways in which it can be improved. It is a broad term but when thinking about a competent person ask yourself questions like - 'Have they got the relevant experience?', 'How familiar are they with the company?' and 'Have they got the relevant IOSH course?'

There Is No One In My Company Who Can Do This Role, Can I Outsource?

Yes absolutely. If after an assessment you have determined that no one in your organisation cannot be given the responsibility as a competent person then you can outsource it to health and safety consultants. You may decide to do this if you're a niche company or you are operating within an industry that carries with it a lot of risk. The higher the risk, the higher the competence has to be. Airing on the side of caution is not a bad idea and is always the lower risk option. 

What If I Don't Appoint A Competent Person?

Failing to appoint a competent person, whether in-house or outsourced to a health and safety consultant, can lead to serious punishments for you and your company. You'll be in breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which could lead to a fine, or even prison time if the offence is serious enough.

What Is Meant By 'Competent'?

Competent is defined as 'having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully'. This means that a competent person needs to have relevant knowledge and skills, the ability to apply them and the training to maintain it.