by Gary W. Hanson, President American Safety & Health Management Consultants, Inc.

Supervisors play a key role in ensuring a safety program is effective.  Each supervisor should demonstrate the company’s commitment to the safety program at all times.  This commitment is to be reflected in the daily activities of each supervisor.  There should be no reason for a supervisor to allow his/her employees to commit an unsafe act or work in an unsafe environment.  All supervisors should be responsible for the safety performance of their area in the same manner that they will be held accountable for all other areas.

Therefore, Supervisors need to be educated in their safety responsibilities and understand how important these are in reducing the possibility of employee accidents and injuries.  These responsibilities should include the following:


Supervisors should be responsible for reviewing in detail the specific departmental safety rules and guidelines with all new employees.  These guidelines should include:  General Safety Rules, Proper Housekeeping, Specific Job-Related Instruction, OSHA Required Safety Training, Fire Prevention and Emergency Evacuation Procedures, and other related subjects as necessary.


When an employee is assigned a new job, instruct them in the proper and safe method of doing the job.  Be specific so the individual will know what the job is and the job hazards.  Do not forget to follow-up instructions.


Once this has been completed, an accident investigation must be conducted.  An accident investigation report is to be filled out in detail and submitted to the department manager immediately.  The accident investigation is to determine the causes of the accident and/or injury.  Preventative measures necessary to prevent this accident and/or injury in the future are to be outlined in detail on the accident investigation report.  


Supervisors should be responsible for holding regular safety meetings.  Material presented should be specific, intelligent, practical, and of genuine interest.  There should be a specific topic that should be discussed with your employees.  The topic should be reviewed in advance so that the Supervisor is prepared to talk about it in detail.  


Supervisors should conduct regular safety inspections should be conducted.  Results should be documented, and immediate corrective action taken when necessary.


Each month a job or several jobs should be reviewed to ensure that safe work practices are being followed.  Good safety observations can tell how effective your safety guidelines are, and how well employees are following them. 


A good safety program takes the cooperation of each of your employees. However, lacking this necessary cooperation, a certain amount of enforcement becomes necessary.  Counseling is the best approach, but in some cases corrective action may be necessary.

Companies who have effective Safety Programs have Supervisors who understand the value and importance of safety. Supervisors who are trained in their safety responsibilities play a role in maintaining an effective safety program.

If you have any safety related questions or need some assistance with your safety program, please call me at 330-495-3437.

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