OSHA Safety Stand Down – Authorized vs Competent Climber
OSHA Safety Stand Down
May 3-7, 2021
Authorized vs Competent Climber
Day to day, we receive a lot of questions from people looking to start up a company, get into the industry or just get a better overall understanding of what is required to safely and compliantly work in the Telecom Industry. One of the main questions that we get is the designation between Authorized and Competent Climber/Rescuer
What is the Difference?
The Authorized Climber/Rescuer designation should only be given to climbers with less than the minimum 90 days climbing experience or for climbers that lack the ability to perform the rescues/climbing activities at a Competent Level.
Authorized Climber/Rescuers must be under strict supervision from a Competent Climber/Rescuer at all times while on the tower.
Competent Climber/Rescuers are techs that have shown that they understand the information and can display a level of experience that would enable them to safely assist in the rescue of a co-worker in an emergency situation and also meet the minimum experience requirements stated above.
Who designates Competency?
The person that has 100% of the power to make the final call on the Competent designation of an employee is the employer. Companies like Safety LMS (3rd party training companies) are sometimes hired by companies to help with Competent Level training. As subject matter experts, they are able to provide a suggestion to the company based on whether they think the person should be considered as a competent person. The employer, at all times, has the power to give and take away a competent designation.
Has enforcement of Authorized vs Competent Climber/Rescuer certification requirements changed?
Recently there has been a crackdown from larger GC’s requiring Competent Climber Certification when working on their sites. Although this has always been the requirement it was often overlooked, or not understood, and therefore not policed. The change shocked many companies who didn’t even know there was a difference and had been using Authorized Climber Certification their entire career since they had never been told otherwise.
How many Competent Climber/Rescuers do we need on site at a time?
A minimum, 2.
If there is an emergency on site that requires a rescue, there must be a Competent Person that is able to conduct the rescue. This eliminates the possibility of working with 1 Authorized climber and 1 Competent Climber because if the Competent Climber is the one that gets hurt, the Authorized Climber technically isn’t at a level to perform the rescue safely.
What if I still want to certify everyone as Authorized?
Maybe your company works for a Vendor that doesn’t check the full title or potentially the expiry dates of the certification so you have no reason to change it. That’s all well and good while everything is going great but if you happen to have an accident on site, the first thing that the accident investigation workers will come in and ask is “Who is your Competent Person?” or “Show me proof of their Competency”. It’s at this point that your whole company will be shut down from ALL work nationwide because you won’t be able to provide these documents. Now you are losing thousands to tens of thousands in revenue every single day while scrambling around to get your entire company retrained, which if done at the last second, can also be an expensive event.
So when should I certify someone as Authorized?
The right time to certify someone as an Authorized Climber/Rescuer, is when they have less than the minimum 90 days experience or they fail to perform the rescue scenarios that are required as a Competent Climber/Rescuer. In order for them to get the required hands on experience, tower time while being supervised from an experienced Competent Climber/Rescuer is necessary.
The Authorized vs Competent Designation is an important one, especially as there are more and more new climbers coming into the industry. However the certification should not be used as a way to shave a few bucks off your training invoice since – as we mentioned earlier – you’ll be paying it back 10 fold if someone at your company has an accident.
We hope that this may have answered some questions that you or your company may have been asking. If you would still like to get more information on whether an employee should be Authorized or Competent, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 512-710-5000