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    INDUSTRY BODY CALLS FOR LEGAL CHANGE ON ‘COMPETENCE’

    NASC urges replacing ‘competent’ with ‘qualified’ in new work at height regs

    The National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) has called for the words ‘competent’ and ‘competence’ to replaced with ‘qualified’ and a requirement for ‘qualification’ under any new Work at Height Regulations (WAH) introduced by 2013. The call is in response to the recent government report by Professor Löfstedt.

    NASC argue that one particular ‘grey’ area in the current WAH Regulations concerns the use of the terms ‘competent’ and ‘competence’ which occur frequently throughout current legislation.

    The terms are said to be “at the heart” of the regulations yet both are “ambiguous and open to interpretation” resulting in different interpretations and standards. The NASC recommend that these terms be replaced by the term ‘qualified’.

    Change will improve standards in poor performing sectors

    The NASC has written to Government calling for the change which it says is a simple yet effective recommendation to help the government meet its objectives of the review. The NASC accounts for over 75% of the UK’s scaffolding industry turnover and members must meet the NASC objectives of maintaining and developing best practice throughout the scaffolding industry. 

    In a statement the NASC state:

    The work at height industry, including scaffolding can demonstrate clearly and accurately that an individual is ‘qualified’ by virtue of the fact that he has completed suitable training, which includes theoretical, practical and on site experience – the aptitude of the Scaffolder to continue to carry out his/her skilled works is also challenged every five years to ensure continued compliance.

    Scaffolding contracting companies are also able to be audited to ensure continued compliance/qualification via existing regulated protocol such as the NASC’s membership criteria which is already acknowledged by many clients and main contractors as the only method of determining scaffolding prowess that meets all current Scaffolding and Health & Safety legislation.

    By replacing the terms ‘competent’ and ‘competence’ with the clear and indisputable term ‘qualified’ the new edition of the regulations in 2013 will help achieve the objectives of the report’s recommendation – ensuring that those actions carried out in accordance with the Working at Height legislation are proportionate. Adoption of the term ‘qualified’ will also help overcome those continually legislation challenging sectors, such as SMEs and the self-employed.

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