Competency is a skill that workers across all industries should possess. Workers should feel equipped to do their job – this is especially important if working in a high-risk construction environment. In this blog, our experts discuss competency on construction sites and how to make sure your team can work safely.
What is competency?
According to the Health and Safety Executive, competency is defined as ‘the combination of training, skills, experience and knowledge that a person has and their ability to apply them to perform a task safely.’ The Health and Safety Executive also notes that a worker’s personality and physical capability can affect how competent they are.
Competency on construction sites
A report from 2019 by the Competence Steering Group consisted of 149 pages and outlined the importance of competency to promote behavioural change. The report recommended enhanced competence standards and said the government should ensure site workers are registered or certified by a professional body.
What are the risks of not being competent?
Anyone working on a construction site faces daily hazards. Whether it’s heavy lifting or manual handling through to more high-risk teams working at height, the risks of low competency levels are significant. Not having a competent work force could lead to accidents including falls or serious injuries and in extreme cases, death.
Whose responsibility is it to ensure competency on construction sites?
Employers should be responsible for assessing the competency of site workers. This can then be factored into risk assessments and training. Employers should identify any gaps in employee knowledge and arrange the appropriate training accordingly. Employees should be proactive in their approach to competency to ensure a safe site for themselves and those working around them.
Competence relating to your job role
It is important construction workers are competent in the specifics of their daily jobs. For example, those driving or working in confined spaces will require different competency to someone working with fire hazards. This is why there are a number of different CSCS cards. A CSCS card shows employers someone has the necessary understanding of safety for their job role.
Competency on construction sites – what can you do?
One of the key components to a competent workforce is effective health and safety training. Ensuring workers are regularly trained is key and that they receive the right training for their role and responsibility. It’s important for site managers to observe health and safety on site and identify gaps in worker knowledge. Regular safety briefings can also help keep workers safe. To find out more about competency on site, contact the Construction Helpline experts today!