OSHA's Competent Person

OSHA’s Competent Person



Many OSHA standards explicitly require the employer to train employees in the safety and health aspects of their jobs. Other OSHA standards make it the employer's responsibility to limit certain job assignments to employees who are "competent,” meaning that they have had special training and experience. Some examples include powered industrial trucks, boom lifts. A partial list of OSHA standards requiring competent persons are shown under section VI of this document.

This document establishes the process for designating “competent persons” for the purpose of providing training or evaluating hazards or job performance for specific job tasks, or for working on job tasks whereby OSHA requires the designation.



Persons designated by their department or the College to be competent in having the knowledge, training, and experience to train certain equipment operators and/or evaluate the performance of those operators as being proficient and safe.



Competent Person: "Competent person" means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

The “competent person” designation requires the individual to have the authority to take prompt corrective action.

This designation may be task specific or for the duration of employment.

Operator: person authorized by department designated competent person as having the knowledge to operate equipment and/or vehicle safely.



There are many circumstances where operation, inspection, maintenance and/or testing of appliances and equipment are required to be carried out by a “competent person”.


  • It is the responsibility of the operating departments to ensure that suitably trained, qualified and experienced personnel carry out all such duties.
  • Understand which departmental operations require an evaluation by a competent person.
  • Select an employee(s) to be a "competent person(s)” based upon his or her capability to identify hazards.
  • Designate the person as “competent” to perform certain duties or evaluate and/or authorize the safe work practices of workers.
  • Keep records as to how such technical skill has been achieved, e.g. by training, work experience, study, assessment, etc.


Competent Person:

  • Evaluate the performance of workers performing a particular task or operation (including, but not limited to equipment operation, task performance, equipment testing, certain vehicle operation, other processes identified by OSHA as requiring the authorization/evaluation of a competent/qualified person) (see references below).
  • Stop work and take immediate corrective action when hazards or dangerous behaviors are observed.




  • Identify areas of operation that require the designation of competent persons.
  • Select and designate persons to act as “competent” persons.
  • Complete “competent person” designation form.  
  • Delegate the responsibility and authority for coordinating activities and operations covered by the designation(s) (trainer, evaluator, task oversight, etc.).
  • Recognize training or evaluation requirements (e.g. fork truck operator evaluation every three years).

Competent Person:

  • Evaluate the work practices or behaviors of the worker to determine the effectiveness of their training.
  • Complete and sign equipment authorization form as appropriate.
  • Work with the EHS Department to provide additional training or resources as necessary.



Following are some OSHA Standards referencing Competent Persons:

General Industry Standards (1910)

1910.66, Powered platforms for building maintenance.

1910.66, App C, Powered Platforms, Manlifts, and Vehicle-Mounted Work Platforms,     Personal Fall Arrest

1910.178, Powered Industrial Trucks

1910.184, Slings.

Construction Standards (1926)

1926.251, Rigging equipment for material handling.

1926.354, Welding, cutting, and heating in way of preservative coatings.

1926.404, Wiring design and protection.

1926.451, Scaffolds.

1926.500, Fall Protections, Scope, application, and definitions applicable to this subpart.

1926.502, Fall protection systems criteria and practices.

1926.503, Fall Protection, Training Requirements.

1926.550, Cranes and derricks.

1926.552, Material hoists, personnel hoists, and elevators. .

1926.651, Specific Excavation Requirements.

1926.850, Demolition, Preparatory operations.

1926.859, Mechanical demolition.

1926.1053, Ladders.

1926.1101, Asbestos.



List of Equipment/Tasks at SUNY Geneseo Requiring a Competent Person


Excavations                                          Ladders                      

Asbestos                                              Scaffolds                     

Powered Industrial Trucks                   Fall Protection

Boom Lift                                              Genie Lift