Safetip #81: Supervisors Promoting a Safety Culture

May 31, 2017
By Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

This week’s Safetip is about verifying that work site supervisors are promoting a strong safety culture among the workers under their authority.

Supervisors Must Promote Safety & Health

Work site supervisors have an important role to play in supporting and promoting a safety culture. In many jurisdictions around the world, supervisors have responsibility for the safety and health of workers under their authority. Examples of supervisors include Directors, Foremen, Managers, Shift Leads, Superintendents, Team Leads, and others. Supervisors must make sure that workers that they manage not only understand the organization’s safety principles, but that they also follow them. Supervisors must see themselves as the administrators of their organization’s safety and health program.

The Supervisor’s Checklist

Given the prominent role that work site supervisors play in workplace safety, it’s useful to verify that they are fulfilling expectations. An occupational safety and health handbook on Supervisor Roles and Responsibilities from the Ministry of Labour of the Canadian province of Alberta includes a practical “Supervisor’s Checklist” that supervisors can use to assess whether they are appropriately fulfilling their roles. If you’re a supervisor, you should verify that you:

  • Know and understand your employer’s occupational health and safety program, policies and procedures.
  • Know and tell workers about their health and safety rights and responsibilities.
  • Conduct a formal hazard assessment for the work site.
  • Identify (with help from your workers) hazards and their related controls.
  • Communicate all hazards and related controls to your workers (and management).
  • Complete required inspections.
  • Communicate relevant safe work practices to your workers.
  • Confirm that your workers have the training, tools and equipment necessary to perform their jobs.
  • Wear/use required personal protective equipment when on site.
  • Ensure your workers are wearing/using required personal protective equipment on site.
  • Ensure your workers know where to find information on occupational health and safety at the work site, including related legislation.
  • Do everything in your power to ensure the health and safety of your workers.
  • Lead by example.

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