Maintaining employee competency


The Health and Safety Executive described competence as the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them to perform a task safely. Other factors, such as attitude and physical ability, can also affect someone’s competence.


Directorates and Services must take account of the competency requirements for relevant employees when conducting risk assessments. This also helps decide what level of information, instruction, training and supervision needs to be provided.


Competence has to be proportionate to the individual job, with information, instruction and training requirements appropriate and proportionate to the hazards and risk control rquirements arising from their job activities. Those with supervisory responsibilities must also have awareness of competency (i.e. safe practices) requirements workers under their control.


New starts and young people may not or are unlikely to have the same levels of competence of established and experienced employees. Levels of supervision, information and instruction need to take account of those groups likely to be at increased risk. New employees should have an established short term of closer supervision/ shadowing to confirm the required level of competency.


 Professional or skills-based training and continued development constitute and important parts of overall competency, and Services should maintain appropriate records of job profile requirements and individual attainment, particularly for those working in higher risk areas (e.g. construction, design, roads operations, pesticides, arboriculture, landscaping, skills-based training, Large Goods Vehicle, bus or specialist plant driving and operation).


 Competency should be seen as an important component of the safe system of work, not an add-on or afterthought. In that context, information about hazards, risk and the measures to be applied to eliminate or control those risks should be an integral part of skills and/or professional job training.


 Provision of information and instruction on Job, Project or location-specific hazards should start at induction, and be refreshed and updated via routine briefing, information and instruction events (Project Meetings, Team Meetings, Toolbox Talks, Skills refreshers, etc.)


See also our Health and Safety Induction Information page for more about the Council's requirements for  Induction in a health and safety context..


 If you use contractors, you have a responsibility to make sure they are competent. Further guidance is available from colleagues in Corporate Procurement


The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team  provide in-house training on a limited range of Health and Safety-related topics, course details are available on CLMS. Details of  Health and Safety training available via elearning can be found on FISH.  If you have any queries or are looking for dedicated support you can get in touch with us via First Contact> Health and Safety>H&S Enquiries, Advice and Support 

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