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July 09, 2010
Is There a Qualified Person in the House? Part I

Some Cal/OSHA standards require employers to limit certain job assignments to employees who are "competent" or "qualified." In this two-part series, Safety.blr will present all of the qualified/competent person requirements found in the General Industry Safety Orders. Part I covers cranes and other hoisting equipment; powered platforms and equipment for building maintenance; and elevating work platforms and aerial devices.

For each of the following tasks and circumstances covered in the General Industry Safety Orders, employers must have a qualified person (or a certified or competent person) on hand (Safety.blr has added the emphasis):

Powered Platforms and Equipment For Building Maintenance

  • Powered platforms and equipment for building maintenance must undergo an inspection and test at least every 12 months by the equipment manufacturer, authorized representative, or other qualified person acceptable to DOSH. (Section 3296(b))

  • Powered platforms and equipment for building maintenance must be operated only by qualified persons proficient in the operation, safe use, and inspection of the particular working platform to be operated. (Section 3298(a)(1))

  • Employees must be trained by a qualified person in the operation and inspection of powered working platforms. (Section 3298(a)(3))

Elevating Work Platforms and Aerial Devices

  • All aerial devices and elevating work platforms must be assembled and erected by a qualified person in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications and Cal/OSHA regulations. If the manufacturer is no longer in business and instructions are no longer available, assembly and erection must be performed by a qualified person under the direction of a registered professional engineer experienced in the design of elevating work platforms or aerial devices. (Section 3638(e))li>

Cranes and Other Hoisting Equipment

  • Whenever a load limit device on a tower crane is unsealed, repaired, or readjusted, a qualified person must perform any testing necessary to ensure the continuing effective operation of the device. (Section 4966(f)(2))

  • When two or more cranes are used to lift one load, a qualified person, other than the operators, must direct the operation. This person must analyze the operation and instruct all personnel involved in the proper positioning, rigging of the load, and the movements to be made. A qualified person must be in direct audible communication with both crane operators at all times to direct the lifting operation. (Section 4994(e))

  • All loads must be rigged by a qualified person (a rigger), who is trained and capable of safely performing the rigging operation, or by a trainee under the direct visual supervision of a qualified person (a rigger). (Section 4999(a))

  • Before an electric crane is operated after the start of each shift, the crane operator or another qualified person must test the operation of all limit switches and report any defect. (Section 5000(a))

  • Before hoisting employees in a crane or derrick-suspended personnel platform, and after any repair or modification, the platform and rigging must be proof tested. After proof testing, a qualified person must inspect the platform and rigging. Any deficiencies found must be corrected, and another proof test must be conducted. Personnel hoisting must not be conducted until the proof testing requirements are satisfied. (Section 5004(j)(6))

  • Trainees may be authorized to operate cranes or hoisting apparatus provided they are under a qualified operator's instruction. (Section 5006(b))

  • A qualified person must visually inspect the controls, rigging, and operating mechanism of cranes and other hoisting equipment before the first operation on any work shift. (Section 5031(a))

  • Each sling and all fastenings and attachments must be inspected for damage or defects by a qualified person each day before being used. (Section 5043)

  • The thorough inspection of alloy steel chain slings for wear, defective welds, deformation, and increase in link length must be performed by a qualified person. (Section 5044(c)(3))

Identifying Qualified or Competent Persons

Article 1 of the General Industry Safety Orders (which applies to all other General Industry Safety Orders) defines a "qualified person, attendant, or operator" as "[a] person designated by the employer who by reason of his training and experience has demonstrated his ability to safely perform his duties and, where required, is properly licensed in accordance with federal, state, or local laws and regulations."

Unlike standards with extremely specific training requirements, though, the content or nature of training for a competent or qualified person is generally not specified. It is left to the employer to determine whether an individual is, in fact, capable of performing the duties of a qualified person.

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