Tips for the Safety Supervisor

Originally published 05/31/2017

In past Toolbox Talks, we have discussed the safety responsibilities of construction workers. This week, we’ll discuss ten tips for supervisors to use when supervising safety.

  1. Demonstrate a genuine concern for worker safety. Be sure your workers understand and accept personal responsibility for safety. Provide them with the proper tools to get the job done. Reinforce safety where required and lead by example.
  1. Know the rules of safety that apply to the work you supervise. Be aware of the precautions required on the job. Attend safety training to gain knowledge of safety hazards.
  1. Anticipate risks that may arise from changes in equipment or methods. Use available safety information and advice to help guard against new hazards. It may be appropriate to conduct a periodic hazard assessment of the tasks your workers perform to determine the safest method and what personal protective equipment is needed for each job.
  1. Encourage workers to help identify hazards on the job and recommend a solution. Also encourage workers to stop work on a job if they have unanswered safety questions. Let them know that providing input on safety is not only allowed, but strongly recommended.
  1. Instruct your employees to work safely, with persistence and patience. When you observe employees who are not observing the safety rules, correct the unsafe behavior immediately. Unsafe work practices that go uncorrected can have long-term effects on your safety program.
  1. Follow up on safety issues and suggestions. Keep your workers involved in your company safety program. All safety suggestions and questions deserve a response. When communication breaks down and supervisors do not respond to workers’ suggestions, workers can easily lose interest.
  1. Set a good example. Demonstrate safety in your own work habits and personal conduct so that you don’t appear hypocritical in the eyes of your workers.
  1. Analyze all accidents and near-misses. When minor injuries go unheeded, crippling accidents may strike later. Minor accidents and near-misses provide an opportunity for safety improvements that could result in avoiding a serious accident or fatality.
  1. Recognize your role in the company’s overall safety program. It is vital to know that the company’s safety director does not own the safety program and that your involvement and input is welcomed and encouraged.
  1. Embrace your supervisory role and carry it out. Remember that managing safety on the job is as important as managing the project itself. Safety on the job is an investment that always pays dividends. Every effort that we make to prevent accidents on the job leads to a more productive work atmosphere and can contribute to improved employee morale.

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