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Before and AFTER the accident/incident at work SUPERVISORS have a critical role!

A Supervisor’s Responsibility in Accident Prevention

It goes without saying and as noted by the court in both Canada and United States, Supervisors must lead by example! A supervisor must follow established safety procedures if he expects his personnel to do the same! A supervisor must correct employees when he observes them not following established safety procedures or safety rules! Tolerance of safety violations is condoning unsafe behavior.

Key statement in terms! An incident investigation is the account and analysis of an incident based on information gathered by a thorough examination of all contributing factors and causes involved.

A point worth remembering as you teach safety, IGNORING THE MINOR can create the MAJOR!

The minor can become the large monster of the incident like: A tiny speck of dust in the eye can feel like an oversized clinker. It can cause temporary loss of vision and a great deal of discomfort and pain. That is because the eye must be extremely sensitive in order to perform its function of receiving light rays. It must also be directly exposed and is at the mercy of glare and flying particles.

The best way to see safely is through proper eye protection—safety glasses, goggles or shields. One type of eye protection alone is not enough. The wearer will feel safer and be safer when he is wearing the eye protection provided for use in the performance of duties associated with specified operations.

Safety glasses can be classified as common sense protection. They should be worn as insurance against hidden hazards—the tiny piece of grit that comes from nowhere, or the wire end that is unexpectedly flipped eye ward. While safety glasses serve a very definite purpose, they do not offer 100 per cent protection and are not intended to replace goggles or shields when those devices are specified.

The success of any safety program is affected directly by the extent to which the supervisor actively participates. For example, some of the most important procedures of an accident prevention program depend almost entirely upon what the supervisor or site manager does in the course of his daily routine. These procedures are important because the supervisor deals primarily with the activities that happen before accidents occur.

The supervisor has, in addition to other things, responsibility for the following:

  1. Risk assessments of various jobs to be performed by his crew members.
  2. Supervision of the development of Job Safety Analysis (JSA).
  3. Implementation of procedures laid out in the JSA.
  4. Management of change in tasks and conditions.
  5. Development of operating rules for various jobs.
  6. Instruction of employees, both new and existing.
  7. Inspection of the work area, equipment and work practices for the purpose of correcting substandard conditions.
  8. Investigation of accidents (not only injuries alone) for the determination of causes.

These eight activities especially require a full measure of interest, enthusiasm and follow through by the supervisor. It is the responsibility of each supervisor to prevent unsafe conditions from being created by the actions of employees, and it is his responsibility to see that employees do not engage in work methods that are not safe, correct ways to do the job at hand.

Your key  function is not only to make job assignments but also to see that the job is done according to plan, according to established instructions, without interference, without delay, without increasing the cost of operation.

A supervisor should thoroughly understand this responsibility. He should accept the fact that this is an important part of his job and not something imposed by management. It does not demand anything unreasonable, any unusual personal qualifications, or excessive demands on his time.

Unless he develops a proper attitude about this responsibility, he will not become enthusiastic about it. Without enthusiasm, the prevention of accidents is almost hopeless. Enthusiasm begets determination and determination is necessary if employees are to be persuaded to cultivate safe working habits.

Most accident causes are not of a spectacular nature. They are common and frequent occurrences in the daily operation of a lot of industries and companies. They are not of a controversial nature. Employees rarely try to defend deviations from the right way of doing a job, but because accidents do not occur every time those instructions are disregarded, they quickly develop a false sense of security. They feel that nothing serious will happen when they follow poor safe practices.

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