Safety Safety Guidance

Safety Guidance – Competence

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Published January 2024. This version replaces Guidance on Training and Competence published in 2020.

Competence is not solely training and is definitely not an armful of paper qualifications. Competence definitions can vary across legislation, British standards, etc., and can include skills, knowledge, training, experience, qualifications, behaviours, and supervision. However, the four core elements are always present; skills, knowledge, training and experience, which ensures the ability to carry out the work safely and efficiently.

HSE indicates that a competent individual must have:

  • Sufficient knowledge of the specific tasks to be undertaken and the risks which the work will entail; and
  • Sufficient experience and ability to carry out their duties in relation to the project; to recognise their limitations and take appropriate action to prevent harm to those carrying out construction work, or those affected by the work.

Where personnel are used, who are not fully competent, adequate management, supervision and support must be provided to those individuals until they can be assessed as competency.