Supervisors Who Take Risks Set a Bad Example

After several unsuccessful attempts to clear a jam with a pole, a supervisor climbed down from a work platform onto a sawdust conveyor and got his foot caught in the conveyor. He had failed to lock out and de-energize the equipment.

A supervisor came into contact with a 600-volt energized electrical panel causing an arc flash resulting in secondand third-degree electrical burns to both hands, and first- and second-degree burns to the neck and face.

A supervisor risked a fall by carrying out work he felt was unsafe for his workers to do because there was no fall-arresting equipment on site. “It was only supposed to be a five-minute job.”

WorkSafeNB is noticing that supervisors are taking risks they would not expect their employees to take, resulting in injuries.

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act places legal obligations on supervisors to ensure that all employees perform their work safely. We recognize that supervisors face a difficult job balancing the pressures to ensure work is done on time and within budget, without compromising quality and safety. However, by carrying out the work unsafely themselves, supervisors are not relieved of their responsibilities under the OHS Act. Not only do these supervisors risk injury to themselves and others, they set an example for unsafe work practices that could lead to more injuries, or even death.

A supervisor must be competent in order to:

  • Lead, direct and motivate employees.
  • Communicate with bothm anagement and workers.
  • Model and enforce safe work practices.
  • Identify work hazards and apply appropriate legislation.
  • Provide training and instruction to the employees they supervise.
  • Continuously assess the workplace for hazards and take corrective measures when necessary.
  • Determine root causes of incidents and implement corrective actions.

Revised February 2011

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