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The Duties of a Safety Supervisor
Safety supervisors are responsible for a wide variety of tasks associated with maintaining a safe workplace. While the specific tasks that this professional may vary from one company and type of working environment to another, there also are functions common to most safety supervisor positions.
Safety supervisors are responsible for ensuring that workers are properly trained regarding company-specific and Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSHA, safety requirements. Training responsibilities may involve conducting safety orientations, daily "toolbox" safety meetings, periodic safety meetings and formal training sessions on a wide range of safety-related topics.
Safety supervisors are involved in creating, maintaining and communicating safety-related policies and procedures, as well as ensuring that they are followed. They may be involved in determining the need for new policies and procedures and writing, editing and updating policy and procedure documents, posters and handbooks. They are also responsible for enforcement of safety policies and procedures, including making decisions regarding appropriate discipline for infractions.
Beyond providing safety training to employees, safety supervisors are proactively involved in ensuring that proper practices are observed on the workplace. They frequently perform safety inspections in locations including job sites, offices and company vehicles. They observe working conditions, equipment and employee behaviors to identify safety problems and take corrective action.
Safety Equipment Maintenance
Safety supervisors are responsible for making sure that all safety equipment is properly maintained. Tasks may include periodic facility fire inspections, getting fire extinguishers charged regularly, verifying that first aid kits are properly stocked and ensuring that company vehicles and equipment are serviced following an appropriate schedule.
When accidents, injuries or illnesses occur in the workplace, it is important to determine the cause so that such problems can be prevented in the future. Because of this, safety supervisors often lead occupational accident and occupational illness investigations. They may investigate on their own or enlist assistance from other supervisory personnel or outside consultants. Their investigation reports must include factual statements of what occurred, conclusions and recommendations for corrective or preventive actions.
Safety supervisors are responsible for ensuring that their companies are in compliance with all safety-related regulatory requirements, including OSHA standards, Department of Transportation regulations and Environmental Protection Agency requirements. They must be aware of obligations specific to their industry and the types of jobs workers are performing. They must ensure that workers have proper safety credentials and personal safety equipment. They also must verify that there are no violations in the workplace and they must comply with all reporting requirements.
Mary White is professional trainer and human-resources consultant with more than 20 years of experience. She is also the author of two nonfiction books and has worked as a writer since 2007. White holds Master of Arts in communication and certification as a senior professional in human resources.