How to Find a Competent Person

If you don’t hire a competent person to carry out your business’ fire safety, or if you fail to keep up with your responsibilities, or if you hire someone who isn’t ‘competent’, you could face serious legal action and put the lives of everyone on your premises at risk.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a competent person is someone with “sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist you properly. The level of competence required will depend on the complexity of the situation and the particular help you need.”

Hiring a competent person is part of your legal responsibility as an employer – i.e., the ‘responsible person/duty holder’ – under three pieces of legislation:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1989
  • The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

This legislation is in place to make sure your business is operating safely, and you have the correct policies and procedures in place to manage the risk of fire.

It’s important that you can distinguish the difference between you (the responsible person/duty holder) and the competent person.

Responsible person/duty holder: Someone who has control over a building or premises, or control to a degree. It’s your responsibility to stay on top of planning, managing, controlling, preventing and reviewing the risk of fire in your business and acting proactively when there are changes to the business that might affect your fire safety measures. These changes include:

  • Increase or decrease in occupation
  • Introducing new hazardous substances onto the premises
  • Making alterations to your building
  • Changes to surrounding buildings/premises that could impact yours
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For more information on what you need to do to remain compliant, check out our fire safety roles and responsibilities article.

Competent person: The competent person will carefully consider the premises to get a grip on overall risk, to understand how to improve general fire safety precautions to keep people safe and help you comply with the requirements of the law.

Any person can claim to be competent enough to carry out your fire safety servicing, but there are a number of things that you need to pay close attention to, to make sure they’re truly up to the job. These include:

  • Their previous experience
  • References from previous clients similar to your business type
  • The training they have
  • If they’re accredited and by which body
  • Get proof that they have sufficient professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

To find out more about what to look for when hiring a competent person, take a look at our article on the importance of appointing a competent person for your fire safety.

 

Where to Look for a Competent Person

Knowing where to look is essential for finding the right person for the job. The Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council recommends that you source your competent person from companies who are third-party certified from specific Fire Risk Assessment schemes.

There are three different types of Fire Risk Assessment schemes to look out for:

  • A company scheme which is operated by a certification body who look at the competence of the people and management systems within the company.
  • A person certification scheme which is operated by a certification body and assesses the competency of the individual themselves and not the company.
  • A professional body scheme is operated by a professional body that looks at the competency of the individual and not the company.

Now it’s important to note that each scheme will be certified by different certification bodies which we’ve listed below.

Register HoldersCompany Certification SchemePerson Certification SchemeProfessional Body Person Registration Scheme
The BAFE ‘SP205’ scheme is delivered by the following UKAS accredited certification bodies: ECA/(ELECSA), NSI, SSAIBYes
IFC Certification LtdYes
Institute of Fire Prevention Officers (IFPO) Yes
Institute of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM)Yes
Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE)Yes
Register of Skilled Persons (ROSP). The ROS Group ‐ operate a ‘Fire Lead Assessor Management Evaluator" Scheme (FLAME)Yes
Warrington Certification Ltd operate a ‘Fire Risk Assessors Certification Scheme (Individuals)’ (FRACS)Yes
Warrington Certification Ltd operate a ‘Fire Risk Assessors Certification Scheme’ (FRACS)Yes

Table sourced from Guide-to-Choosing-a-competent-Fire-Risk-Assessor-August2015.pdf (cheshirefire.gov.uk)

 

Before the Work Starts

Now you’ve sourced what you think to be the ideal competent person, there are some steps you should follow to keep yourself, your people, and your business in the best position possible.

Step One

Make sure the scope of the work you want to be carried out is clearly outlined in writing and has been agreed by yourself and the competent person.

Step Two

Give the competent person access to all areas of the premises so they can carry out their job efficiently without any delays and provide them with all the relevant information.

Step Three

Keep a record of the steps you took to source and select your competent person should you ever need to prove it to future inspectors or fire safety services.

 

How Citation Fire & Electrical Can Help

We understand that finding the right competent person for your business’ fire safety can be stressful, especially on top of the everyday responsibilities you have as an employer. So, to put your mind at ease, we can assure you that our years of fire safety servicing, third-party accreditation and regular auditing process means we are more than capable of keeping your business on the right side of the law and safe from the risk of fire.

Our fire risk assessors undergo regular training and upskilling programmes to make sure they maintain the highest standards of competence, so you can be confident you’re in safe hands.

As a compliance business, we provide quality that you can rely on – proved through our BAFE SP205 accreditation. Our specialist teams not only offer a thorough and hassle-free Fire Risk Assessment service, we also offer Fire Extinguisher ServicingFire Alarm Maintenance, and Emergency Light Testing that allows you to focus on the most important thing – running your business!

If you want more information about how Citation Fire & Electrical can act as your competent person for your fire safety, get in touch with our team by calling 0800 055 6559. Or, if you want us to reach out to you, simply fill in the form to request a call back.

 

 

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