Who Is A Qualified Person

These three fundamental components: the demonstrated skills, knowledge, safety training. I want to break them down into some individual component. There is a specific definition that the terms in 70E document in the FNPA standard is based on. And that's where this clause, this statement of "has demonstrated skills" come from.

Demonstrated Skills

Interpreting this, in many ways, is based the company owner or the supervisor or the manager, having knowledge of whether or not the person in question one, has performed this task before. You know, they've known from experience of working around this person or having witnessed them performing these duties in the past, that you can, in fact, attest that, you know, you have witnessed them performing this task in the past, or at least utilizing these required skills.

Where it becomes questionable, where it becomes a little tricky to apply this term or determine whether or not someone meets this definition is when it's an electrical task that it may not be necessarily be anything uncommon, but it's not a specific task that the person in question has ever performed, at least within the memory of the person making the determination. So now it starts to get a little cloudy as to whether or not the supervisor, the person who is charged with making this determination can justifiably say that this person does, in fact, possess the skills.

Because performing a task in one piece of equipment that they're familiar with, and performing the same task in a piece of equipment that they are not familiar with, even though the task is the same, the fact that they've never worked in that piece of equipment that they're not as familiar with, in of itself can be a hazard to the worker. So they may possess the skills, but they may not possess the associated knowledge with where they're going to be applying these skills because of their lack of familiarity with the equipment. So it really gets tricky, as far as assessing whether or not this person does, in fact, meet the requirements of what this term asks of him, so to speak.

Now let's take it and go one step further. Let's say, we know for a fact, based on our knowledge both with the so-called qualified worker and us, as their manager or their supervisor, we know for a fact that they're going to have to wear the PPE. We know, for a fact, that we meet the requirements to leave the energy on. We can justify the fact that we're going to do energized work. But now we're charged with making this determination. Can the worker actually perform the task in question while wearing the PPE? So once again, you know, we can justify the fact that we're going to leave the power on, but we have not definitely made the decision or made the determination that the worker...I mean, yes, they may possess the skills at hand, but when utilizing those skills and meeting the requirements of wearing the PPE, can they demonstrate the ability to perform the task in question while wearing all these PPE?

I mean, there are several just quick items that come to mind that will most definitely be effective once you put on this PPE. Anyone that's ever worn it knows that the first thing that goes out of your wheelhouse, so to speak, is dexterity. When you put those rubber gloves and the leather protectors on on top of them, a significant amount of dexterity is lost. If you're wearing an arc flash hood, right away it's almost like working in the dark because the lightning that seemed perfectly adequate before you put that on, all of a sudden it is very inadequate, as far as you being able to see not just what you're working on but what you're working around, never mind, you know, the one here in the middle, as far as how much it restricts your field of view.

So, as far as demonstrating ability, it's not just, you know, have they performed these tasks or can you confirm, as their supervisor, that they possess these skills. Another means, another demand, as far as this quote, again, of "has demonstrated these skills", have they demonstrated the ability to perform these skills in the rather uncomfortable manner, wearing this PPE while they're doing it? So that being said, and in perspective of where we're headed with this discussion, you'd rather sit down and come up with a definitive checklist, a definitive set of conformities that have to be met in determining whether or not someone meets this definition.

It's almost like there are purposefully grey areas built in this definition, built in to this assessment. And in many ways, it has to be this way, because there is such a wide variety of, not only work tasks that an electrical worker may be faced with performing on various pieces of equipment, but there is such a wide variety of hazards that can be encountered, such a wide variety of equipment designs, of system designs. So every one of them, you know, anyone who's ever taken my safety class, they've been taught, since the very beginning, that as soon as the question comes up as to whether or not they're qualified or not, the first two words that I want to pop into their mind are, "For what?" What is the specific task, on what specific equipment, that I'm being asked to perform?

And that is the beginning of the assessment. It has to be that specific, because if we overly generalize this whole process, it's not a question of if, it's only a question of when someone is overly generalized in making the determination about their qualifications. And we find out the hard way that they weren't in fact qualified, and that's what the whole system is really trying to avoid. 


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