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Published: 24th November 2022

UK COMAH site celebrates Competence Management System award

Cogent Skills were very pleased to award Livent Lithium (UK) Ltd with the CIA’s Skills Award at the annual CIA dinner in June 2022.

Livent celebrated the fact that their new Competence Management System (CMS) achieved high hazard industry recognition with an award-winning entry into the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) 2022 – Skills Award category.

This prestigious skills award recognised Livent’s efforts to support ongoing workforce skills development, by focusing on the implementation of a new process safety Competence Management System (CMS) for Operations which took inspiration from and was aligned to Cogent Skill’s Gold Standards.

Pictured in the main photo is Livent UK being presented with their prestigious award by Justine Fosh, Cogent Skills Chief Executive Officer.

Livent Lithium, a global lithium technology manufacturer, has a UK lower tier COMAH site located in Bromborough, Wirral and employs 65 people, who are involved with the production of organic lithium and inorganic lithium compounds for the crop protection and pharmaceutical markets.

The importance of good Competence Management Systems

COMAH and high hazard businesses may have got used to a skills profile in their workforce that keeps everyone safe. As the business adapts to change it will also be necessary to review workforce competence management systems to make sure they keep pace with change

Max Walker. Health and Safety Executive. Head of Onshore Chemicals Management, Improvement & Development. Chemicals, Explosives & Microbiological Hazards Division

About Competence Management for High Hazard Industries

Your Major Accident Hazard (MAH) site may have safety critical risk assessments, policies, procedures, practices and performance indicators in place, but if they’re not carried out by competent people who may be behaving in a way which could lead to human error or failure, then all other systems can be secondary.

A major high hazard incident can affect your financial performance, business reputation, credibility within workforce, local communities AND your ‘License to Operate’.

Regulatory Inspectors need businesses to demonstrate that they have access to competent Human Factors and Competence Management support. This can be an internal or external resource.

Companies need to be able to answer the following questions about the competency of their staff:

  • What do they have to do?
  • How good do they have to be?
  • Can we measure their competence of what they do?
  • Can we demonstrate to ourselves and the regulators that we know the staff are competent?

They also need to reassure themselves that not only are they doing the right thing, but also that they were doing the thing right.

Implementing a good competency management system  along with the subsequent required training,  can create many successful outcomes including:

  • Meeting the Competency Challenge required by COMAH regulators
  • Operations without harm to person or the environment
  • Process safety performance indicators in place and linked to competency providing oversight to the Site Leadership Team.
  • Daily transparency in the competency level make up of a shift team (ensuring that they have the right level to operate safely)
  • A clear pathway for current staff and new starters

Cogent Skills has helped over 40 companies with their competency management systems. Read more about our Competence Management and Human Factors consultancy solutions.

Read More on the Celebration of Success – Showcasing winning examples of good practice from the 2022 Chemical Industry Awards (link to PDF) Read the Livent Lithium (UK) Limited LinkedIn post here

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