18.—(1) The responsible person must, subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
(2) Where the responsible person appoints persons in accordance with paragraph (1), he must make arrangements for ensuring adequate co-operation between them.
(3) The responsible person must ensure that the number of persons appointed under paragraph (1), the time available for them to fulfil their functions and the means at their disposal are adequate having regard to the size of the premises, the risks to which relevant persons are exposed and the distribution of those risks throughout the premises.
(4) The responsible person must ensure that—
(a)any person appointed by him in accordance with paragraph (1) who is not in his employment—
(i)is informed of the factors known by him to affect, or suspected by him of affecting, the safety of any other person who may be affected by the conduct of his undertaking; and
(ii)has access to the information referred to in article 19(3); and
(b)any person appointed by him in accordance with paragraph (1) is given such information about any person working in his undertaking who is—
(i)employed by him under a fixed-term contract of employment, or
(ii)employed in an employment business,
as is necessary to enable that person properly to carry out the function specified in that paragraph.
(5) A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of this article where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
(6) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a self-employed employer who is not in partnership with any other person, where he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities properly to assist in undertaking the preventive and protective measures.
(7) Paragraph (1) does not apply to individuals who are employers and who are together carrying on business in partnership, where at least one of the individuals concerned has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities—
(a)properly to undertake the preventive and protective measures; and
(b)properly to assist his fellow partners in undertaking those measures.
(8) Where there is a competent person in the responsible person’s employment, that person must be appointed for the purposes of paragraph (1) in preference to a competent person not in his employment.
What the Enforcement Guidance says:
The responsible person must, subject to the exceptions in paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint
one or more competent persons to assist them in undertaking the measure they need
to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions of this Order. A responsible
person can nominate themselves. A self employed person is not required to nominate if
he or she is competent for the role to be undertaken. Similarly where individuals are in
partnership and one of the partners is competent, the requirements do not apply. In each
case the overarching criterion is that the appointed person has appropriate competence
for the role they are to undertake. It should be noted that the responsible person cannot
devolve their personal responsibilities to a consultant or employee.
89. Acompetent person is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge
and other qualities to enable them to properly assist in the undertaking of preventative
and protective measures. The level of necessary competence will vary according to the
nature and complexity of the premises. Basic training or use of recognised guidance
together with reasonable knowledge of the premises may well be sufficient for many
micro, small and medium sized premises. However where the premises are higher risk,
large or complex a higher level of competence is likely to be necessary.
The need for specific competence in specialist areas such as installation and
maintenance of computerised fire detection and warning systems or designed fire
engineered safety measures should be considered. Although third party accreditation
schemes can give a reasonable indication of competence in a given specialist area,
other means can be used. Care should be taken to ensure that where an non-accredited
company is used, the level of competence is not compromised.
The responsible person should make arrangements for ensuring adequate co-operation
between the nominated competent persons and ensure that the number of persons
appointed are adequate, having regard for the size of the premises and the risks to
which relevant persons are exposed.
The responsible person is under a duty to ensure that any competent person they
appoint is given such information as is necessary to enable that person properly to carry
out his functions.
In exercising their role, enforcing authorities will wish to seek reasonable evidence
of competence of the person appointed by the responsible person to carry out
their functions under article 18(1). This may be by reference to results in the premises
(which ideally should show effective compliance) or by reference to other means such
as third party accreditation, training records or demonstrable use and understanding of appropriate guidance.