By- Gary W. Hanson


Developing Supervisors play a key role in ensuring a safety program is effective.  

Each supervisor, therefore, 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 doubt in your employee’s mind about the commitment the company places on this effort.  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.


When one of your employees is injured, the employee needs to fill out an injury report immediately.  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.  Corrective action steps are then to be taken and all employees in your area of responsibility are to be advised of these procedures.    


In addition to regular individual job contacts, supervisors should be responsible for holding regular safety meetings.  Material presented should be specific, intelligent, practical, and of genuine interest.  Holding meetings merely to prod workers to “Be Careful” or “Work” safely is not usually effective.  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.  


Regular safety inspections should be conducted.  Results should be documented and compared to prior inspections.  Follow-up priorities should be listed and immediate action taken when necessary.


Conduct routine safety observations.  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.  Where necessary, corrective action should be advised.


In the supervision of your area, the cooperation of each of your employees is essential.  However, lacking this necessary cooperation, a certain amount of enforcement on your part becomes necessary.  This is as true with these Basic Safety Responsibilities as with your other production duties.  Thus, you must take no less severe corrective action for violations of accepted Safe Practices as for any other violation of good production practices or personal behavior regulations.

Companies that have effective Safety Programs have Supervisors who understand the value and importance of safety.  These Supervisors are trained in the responsibilities and they are a key point of the Supervisors daily work activities.

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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