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Dynamic Discussions: What is a Qualified Person?

Ensuring Safety on the Jobsite

When it comes to worksites, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes three different types of persons involved in ensuring the safety for the workers and on the job site. OSHA has specific definitions of who these persons are and what is required of them to perform work safely and according to the law.

What is a Competent Person?

A Competent Person can be a crew leader or supervisor, but most often a Competent Person is a Safety Manager or the person on site with the highest level of safety training. In most cases the Competent Person conducts the training of the Authorized Persons on site.

OSHA defines a Competent Person 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)

What is an Authorized Person?

The duty of the Authorized Person is someone who has received training on safety products that will be needed to perform work including knowing how to don a safety harness and use all components of a personal fall arrest system (PFAS) in compliance with OSHA regulations or The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standards.

The Authorized Person must also perform and document pre-use inspection of their safety gear. It’s important to know that the Authorized Person is not the safety leader on site but is trained to be aware of all hazards present during the work that is being performed.

The OSHA definition of an “Authorized person” means a person approved or assigned by the employer to perform a specific type of duty or duties or to be at a specific location or locations at the jobsite. 1926.32(d)

What is a Qualified Person?

A Qualified Person typically will not be on the job site. They have extensive training and knowledge of this field. A Qualified Person is usually a professional engineer. They can stamp off on drawings and they can also stamp off on beams and structures.

OSHA’s definition of “Qualified” means one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project. 1926.32(m)

How Do They Compare?

Permanent fall protection systems are likely analyzed and approved by a Qualified Person in each application. Although the design is certified and approved by a Qualified Person, a Competent Person performs annual inspections, keeps all records and holds the fall protection and rescue plans for the job. An Authorized Person understands how the system works, what safety gear is appropriate and utilizes the fall protection system to perform their work safely. An Authorized Person has enough training to be on the job site and perform work, and a Competent Person heads up safety on the job site. They will have rescue plans, safety checklists, etc.

Malta Dynamics Resources

At Malta Dynamics, our mission is for everyone to return home safely at the end of the workday. Competent, qualified, and authorized persons alone do not guarantee safety for your workers using fall protection. How you use the equipment and train with the systems also plays a significant role in safety, so we have developed several resources for you and your team so you can work safely at heights. Safety resources including fall protection plans, rescue plans, hazard assessment forms and more helpful resources like inspection forms and safety posters can be printed here.

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