Scaffolding Safety / Competent & Qualified Person(s)

Does the competent person have to be qualified in safety issues relating to the use of the scaffold, such as guardrails and fall arrest equipment, or just in safety issues relating to scaffold erection and structural integrity?

The standard does not specify particular training requirements for competent persons. Instead, it defines a competent person in terms of capability. Section 1926.450(b) 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.

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A ‘competent person’ must be knowledgeable about the structural integrity of scaffolds and the degree of maintenance needed to maintain them. The competent person must also be able to evaluate the effects of occurrences such as a dropped load, or a truck backing into a support leg that could damage a scaffold. In addition, the competent person must be knowledgeable about the requirements of this standard. A competent person must have training or knowledge in these areas in order to identify and correct hazards encountered in scaffold work.”

Does the competent person need both (1) the same training as a scaffold erector, plus (2) additional training on how to inspect scaffolds and recognize hazards?

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Section 1926.454 states that a competent person will train employees involved in erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, maintaining, or inspecting a scaffold. To meet this requirement, a competent person must be fully knowledgeable about erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, maintaining and inspecting the scaffold. As a practical matter this will usually mean that the competent person will need the same training as a scaffold erector plus whatever additional training is necessary to carry out these other duties.

When is a qualified person required for scaffolding?

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The standard defines a qualified person as “one who—by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience—has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to solve or resolve problems related to the subject matter, the work, or the project.” The qualified person must perform the following duties in these circumstances:

In General – To design and load scaffolds in accordance with that design.

For Training – To train employees working on the scaffolds to recognize the associated hazards and understand procedures to control or minimize those hazards.

For Suspension Scaffolds – To design the rigging for single-point adjustable suspension scaffolds. To design platforms on two-point adjustable suspension types that are less than 36 inches (0.9 m) wide to prevent instability. To make swaged attachments or spliced eyes on wire suspension ropes.

For Components and Design – To design scaffold components construction in accordance with the design.