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Qualified versus Competent Person

- May 13, 2013 by Steve Danner, CSP (View all posts by Steve)

In an earlier discussion, we reviewed the CAL/OSHA and FED/OSHA definitions of a “competent person”; now let’s review the definition of a “qualified person” and you decide if the author is one or the other, both, or neither?

A Qualified Person is defined as a person designated by the employer who, by reason of training, experience or instruction, has demonstrated the ability to safely perform all assigned duties and, when required, is properly licensed in accordance with federal, state, or local laws and regulations.

The successful completion of a safety course does not alone establish someone as a qualified person. Questions on course outline, subject matter, and comprehensiveness of the class should be asked.

The standards require that a qualified person must have a recognized degree, certificate, etc., or extensive experience and ability to solve the subject problems at the worksite. This is the reason why 29 CFR 1926.651(f) requires that supporting systems design shall be by a qualified person. As with scaffolds, the standard recognizes that there may be a requirement for more technical or engineering knowledge here.

The author is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with 35 years experience in safety and has completed classes on scaffolds, ladders and fall protection. He has experience, training and knowledge, and can demonstrate his knowledge.


“Safety and Health Training and Instruction Requirements.” Division of Occupational Safety and Health. CAL OSHA, n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/trainingreq.htm

United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health “Clarification of Competent and Qualified Person, as It Relates to Subpart P. 21 Feb. 1986. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=19389

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