Everyone has a responsibility to managing WHS (Occupational Health and Safety) at work. But Supervisors and managers are not only responsible but they are also accountable for managing WHS. There is a widespread belief among employees that the role of the Supervisors is only to get the work done and increasing productivity but this belief and thinking is incorrect.
For some Supervisors and Managers, productivity becomes their primary focus, and their responsibilities begin and end with the product. Sometimes health and safety are overlooked where organisations believe they should focus on productivity. But what happens when an incident occurs? After the incident, everyone starts asking questions about what happened. Usually, an incident Investigation Team and health and safety officials will ask to speak with a supervisor to help them put together and investigate the incidents. Here comes the importance of accountability, that Supervisors and Managers have and cannot escape accountability by just saying “I don’t know.”, “I was not there at the time of the incident”, “I did not tell them to do this thing” or blaming their team members. Supervisors can assign the responsibility but they cannot assign accountability,
The fact is that all incidents are preventable and they can be avoided if appropriate measures are taken to improve occupational health and safety. The problem is that many people do not know what their legal and legal obligations are when it comes to occupational health and safety. However, when investigations into events lead to legal action or a fine, those who fail to fulfil their obligations may find themselves in a huge trouble.
Role of all stakeholders
Each person on the job plays a very important role in ensuring health and safety, but there may not be a bigger role than that played by a Supervisor. Supervisors are given greater responsibility for the health and safety of their teams. This means that they must also take care of their own safety, as the way they act will also affect the way employees do and the way they carry out their duties. Therefore, supervisors need to understand the importance of occupational health and safety and what their role is, in making safety systems work.
The Supervisors may not set an organisational index but they are ultimately responsible for translating the company’s policies and objectives into action. Even if the new WHS system is being monitored by the Health and Safety department but it is the responsibility of Supervisors and Line Managers to ensure and manage workplace health and safety for their work.
The most frequently identified occupational safety challenges include recurring injuries, lack of employee engagement, employees taking shortcuts or non-compliance, lack of personal safety accountability, and significant organisational competition.
5 vital responsibilities of Supervisors that enables them to manage WHS
Coaching for Safety and Building Competence: Training should create awareness of safe conduct, and teach the necessary skills to work safely, increase knowledge by providing accurate, high-quality information about occupational hazards and safe practices and procedures, and shape employees’ attitudes toward workplace safety. Supervisors should also coach their workers to build competence through their knowledge and experience.
Provide Resources and Support: This means making sure that employees have the right tools and equipment, including PPE, to work safely and to avoid accidents. It also means conducting risk assessments to identify hazards, training employees to help them learn to do their jobs safely, and being available to answer questions, provide feedback, and discuss safety issues and concerns employees may have. Employees should feel free to approach their supervisor whenever they have a problem or question about safety or to report incidents and accidents without fear of suspicion or retaliation.
Enforcing Safety Rules and Policies: This starts with the management’s job of informing employees about policies and regulations. It means providing constructive feedback when managers see employees taking shortcuts or not following safety requirements. It can also include controlling the consequences of breaking the rules and violating policies.
Monitoring and Supervision: Managers are responsible for the safe conduct of their employees. Providing adequate employment means monitoring employees at work to ensure they perform safely, conducting safety inspections to identify and correct hazards, and analysing incidents to identify causes, and taking remedial measures to prevent future incidents and injuries.
Demonstrate Visible Leadership: Many times, we hear Supervisors and leader’s should set example. Leadership means more than just setting a good example for employees. It also means encouraging employees to take care of their own safety and the safety of their colleagues in all communication between the manager and employees. A good leader promotes employee-driven safety and knows that the work team is only as safe as each employee.
A good leader is more effective than just someone who responds when things go wrong. Supervisors should aim to become a good leader rather than just a representative to manage work and personnel.
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