OSHA Competent Person Requirements
An OSHA competent person is someone who knows the OSHA regulations regarding scaffolding and can insure that scaffolding is built safely and per regulations and who will check the scaffolding at least once a day for OSHA compliance. OSHA requires that a competent person be on site at all times when you are working on scaffolding. The best practice is to have a competent person training class for your employees and have cards issued to the employees who complete this class. One of these trained employees then needs to be onsite at all times while you are working on the scaffolding. When OSHA shows up to your job site, one of the first things they are going to ask is who your competent person is. Now you will not only have someone designated, but they will also be able to prove it to OSHA with a card.
Once you have your competent person established, they need to keep track of their scaffolding inspections. This can be done with a scaffold tag. While not explicitly required by OSHA, we believe all scaffolding should have a scaffold tag on the bottom of it. Many general contractors require this on their projects. Sometimes called a red or green card, the scaffold tag attaches to the scaffolding and holds a green card that slides in and out. The card contains signature space and date entries so that the competent person can sign off that the scaffolding is safe and slide the green card into the tag. The OSHA competent person checks the scaffolding once it is constructed, and depending on GC requirements, once a day or every time the scaffolding is accessed, such as after lunch or any work break. At a minimum, it should be once a day. The competent person signs and dates the card every time the scaffolding is inspected. When the crews come off the scaffolding, the green card comes out of the holder. The empty holder will a warning sign not to access the scaffolding. When the crews come back and the scaffolding is checked, then the card goes back in. This is a great way to reduce liability of other trades working on your scaffolding when you are not present.