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What Are the Duties of an Overseer?

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An overseer, also called a supervisor or a foreperson, performs a job title that entails providing instructions, guidance and orders to junior employees. At the same time, an overseer is held responsible for the work and actions of his subordinates. Overseers typically supervise factory, construction and other manual labor workers.

Organize Work

An overseer is typically responsible for organizing work and projects that a senior manager entrusts his team with. He says who should do what and in what time constraints. In addition to managing the time of his team, an overseer should also administer the resources that the team is using. In construction, those resources include building materials, while factory floor workers utilize raw materials and energy.

Provide Training

Training is a crucial part of any work. An overseer, typically being an experienced worker himself, should provide detailed instructions to all workers on how to complete the job on time.

Ensure Safety

An overseer is often held liable for any injuries his subordinates receive while working. Accordingly, it is one of his primary duties to ensure that all safety precautions are taken and that the work conditions do not pose a threat to the workers' health and life. In addition, the overseer must instruct the workers on how to use the equipment and operate the machinery in a manner safe to the machine operator and other workers.

Evaluate and Reward Performance

Evaluating and rewarding work of subordinates constitutes another duty of an overseer. He should provide moral and financial encouragement for the work being done well and on time. On the other hand, poorly completed work should not be tolerated, and the overseer needs to discuss with the workers what went wrong and how to improve their performance in the future. If necessary, an overseer should discipline or, if circumstances call for it, even dismiss employees.

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