The Role of Supervisors in Health and Safety in the Workplace



Supervisors should enforce safe work practices and procedures in the workplace to ensure everyone’s safety and health. Failure to do your responsibility can potentially result in accidents.

Being a supervisor comes with a great deal of responsibility in a company’s day-to-day operations. While employers have the greatest responsibility for workplace health and safety, supervisors are next in line. That is why they need to understand their roles and adhere to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requirements and regulations. 

No matter the size of the workplace, employees have great expectations from a supervisor. Because health and safety is a major concern in every workplace, supervisors should act as front-line guardians to workers.

Know the Hazards in Your Workplace

Planning and organizing the work is among the most important roles a supervisor has. It takes more than just identifying potential hazards (those apparent, hidden, and new) in the workplace. It is also crucial to understand the hazards associated with daily work. You also need to develop a plan on how to eliminate or control them to ensure maximum protection of your workers. 

Hazards can take various forms, and sometimes, a combination of risks can make the workplace more unsafe. Here are some of the most common workplace hazards:

  • Slipping, tripping, or falling
  • Repetitive movement (bending, lifting heavy objects, or prolonged sitting)
  • Motorized vehicle accidents
  • Improper use of machinery resulting in serious injuries or death
  • Workplace violence

Take note that some of the effects of these hazards may take several days, months, or even years before they are apparent. By identifying and understanding them, you can effectively prevent them in the future.

Dealing with Safety and Health Hazards 

You need to RACE (Recognize, Assess, Control, Evaluate) when dealing with workplace hazards. When using this technique, do it to help you identify and reduce/prevent hazards. Make sure to keep the lines of communication with workers throughout the process.

Recognize potential workplace safety hazards by:

    • Observing the work as it is being done
    • Asking workers about their work and the condition of their work areas
    • Taking part in workplace inspections
    • Checking reports and records
    • Listening to worker’s concerns
    • Assess the situation by understanding the possibility of injury or sickness caused by the hazard.
    • Control the hazard by looking at and developing effective solutions that help eliminate or make the job safe. If the hazard is impossible to remove, come up with solutions that will distance or prevent workers from coming too close to the dangers. If none of them works, provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure safety and protection. 

Set best practices and look for internal and external resources to address and resolve the problem. Hiring a safety services Toronto training consultant is also one of the best solutions to ensure health and safety in the workplace.

Evaluate how effective your hazard control plan is. Take time to talk to the workers and learn more about their tasks. You can also watch them do their work and observe if the hazard control measures are working. Listen and consider what they have to say so that you can easily and efficiently improve health and safety

If someone in the workplace incurs an injury resulting in brain or spinal damage, you will need an injury lawyer Peterborough professional to handle this kind of case. So it is best to encourage your employees to bounce off their ideas to prevent these kinds of injuries.

Allaine Layns

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