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In a workplace FATALITY or Serious Incident OHS Officer(s) will ask about the Supervisors Qualifications!

A work site fatality or serious worker incident is always traumatic to say the least for staff and the company but the first person they will be zeroing in on is the IMMEDIATE site supervisor, how are they trained as SUPERVISOR and by whom and does it include safety! And although LEGISLATION give the investigators two full years to find fault, for your less than three second event that does mean you are off the hook, that mean they have two years to press charges and then you have the trial and possible jail sentence coming to your lack of supervisor skills perhaps!

And we all know that a supervisor is: An employee is a supervisor if he has the power and authority to do the following actions (according to the provincial or state legislation): Give instructions and/or orders to subordinates. Be held responsible for the work and actions of other employees.

The definition of supervisor has two separate parts. Having either charge of a workplace, or authority over a worker, is sufficient for a person to be a supervisor. In general, “charge of a workplace” refers to broad control over the planning of work and how it is carried out, while “authority over a worker” can be seen as a more specific power to ensure a worker’s compliance with directions.

Below are two general lists of powers and responsibilities that may be exercised or carried out by a supervisor. The first list includes powers that are primary indicators of being in a supervisory role. The second list includes responsibilities that would generally be carried out on the job site by a front-line supervisor who interacts directly with workers.

1.   Powers that are primary indicators of being in a supervisory role include the power to:

·        hire, fire or discipline,

·        recommend hiring, firing or discipline,

·        promote, demote or transfer,

·        decide a worker’s rate of pay,

·        award bonuses,

·        approve vacation time,

·        grant leaves of absence, or

·        enforce procedures established to protect worker health and safety.

2.   A person with none of the powers listed above could still be a supervisor as defined in the OHSA, if he or she has some of the following responsibilities:

·        determining the tasks to be done, and by whom,

·        directing and monitoring how work is performed,

·        managing available resources such as staff, facilities, equipment, budget,

·        deciding on and arranging for equipment to be used on a job site,

·        deciding the make-up of a work crew,

·        deciding on and scheduling hours of work,

·        dealing directly with workers’ complaints, or

·        directing staff and other resources to address health and safety concerns.

Generally speaking, the more authority a person has over workers and the way work is performed, the greater the likelihood that the person is a supervisor under the OHSA. The combination of powers and responsibilities that have to be present for a person to be considered a supervisor will vary from case to case and will depend on the circumstances in a given workplace at a given time. A person who merely relays an official’s instructions and reports back to that official, or who determines tasks by following a standard protocol, does not have charge of the workplace or authority over workers and would not be considered a supervisor.


A.  Fatality. An employee death resulting from a work-related incident or exposure; in general, from an accident or an illness caused by or related to a workplace hazard.

B.  Catastrophe. The hospitalization of three or more employees resulting from a work-related incident or exposure; in general, from an accident or an illness caused by a workplace hazard.

C.  Hospitalization. Being admitted as an in-patient to a hospital or equivalent medical facility for examination, observation or treatment.

D.  Incident of national significance. An incident involving multiple fatalities, extensive injuries, massive toxic exposures, extensive property damage, or one that presents potential worker injury and generates widespread media interest.

In a workplace fatality did you the SUPERVISOR and have proof in writing;

The specific duties of a supervisor under Legislation of the OHSA are to:

·        make sure that workers work in compliance with the OHSA and its regulations;

·        make sure that workers use any equipment, protective devices or clothing the employer requires;

·        tell workers about any workplace health and safety hazards that the supervisor is aware of;

·        give workers written instructions on measures and procedures to be followed for their own protection, if prescribed by regulation; and

·        take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers.

And your SUPERVISOR Has the MINIMUM of this knowledge on site.

Internal Responsibility System

  • IRS, culture of workplace safety
  • Safety committees
  • Worker representation
  • Cooperation, communication, accountability

Responsibility, Authority and Accountability

  • Employer, supervisor, worker responsibilities
  • Relationship with authorities
  • Workplace & equipment inspections
  • Handling hazardous materials
  • Accident investigations

Establishing Due Diligence

  • Health & Safety policies & procedures
  • Training
  • Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC)
  • Workplace inspections and monitoring
  • Documentation system
  • Contractors
  • Work Refusals
  • New employee orientation

Criminal Code of Canada

  • Bill C-45 and Due Diligence for owners, employers, managers and supervisors in the USA this will be the general duty clause and OH&S  30 training program
  • Criminal negligence by a corporation or an individual
  • Legal duties of employees, supervisors, managers and owners
  • Fines and consequences of conviction

Regulations Review

  • Select jurisdiction of workplace [which province, or Federal]
  • Review regulations and guidelines that apply

All fatalities and catastrophes will be thoroughly investigated in an attempt to determine the cause of the event, whether a violation of OH&S  safety and health standards occurred, and any effect the violation had on the accident.

1.  The investigation should be initiated as soon as possible after receiving report of the incident, ideally within one working day, by an appropriately trained and experienced compliance officer assigned by the Area Director.

2.  The Area Director determines the scope of the fatality/catastrophe investigation. Complete all such investigations in an expeditious manner.

  1. Identify and interview all persons with first-hand knowledge of the incident, including first responders, police officers, medical responders, and management, as early as possible in the investigation.
  2. The sooner a witness is interviewed, the more accurate and candid the witness’s statement will be.
  3. If a union is actively involved in the inspection, it can serve as a valuable resource by assisting in identifying employees who might have information relevant to the investigation.
  4. Conduct employee interviews privately, outside the presence of the employer. Employees are not required to inform their employer that they provided a statement to OH&S .
  5. Properly document the contact information of all parties because follow-up interviews with a witness are sometimes necessary.
  6. Reduce interviews to writing and have the witness sign the writing. Transcribe video and audio taped interviews and have the witness sign the transcription.
  7. Read the statement to the witness and attempt to obtain agreement. Note any witness refusal to sign or initial his or her statement.
  8. Ask the interviewee to initial any changes or corrections made to his or her statement.
  9. Informer’s Privilege.
  10. The informer’s privilege allows the government to withhold the identity of individuals who provide information about the violation of laws, including OH&S  rules and regulations.
  11. The identity of witnesses will remain confidential to the extent possible. However, inform each witness that disclosure of his or her identity may be necessary in connection with enforcement or court actions.
  12. The informer’s privilege also protects the contents of statements to the extent that disclosure would reveal the witness’s identity. When the contents of a statement will not disclose the identity of the informant (i.e., statements that do not reveal the witness’s job title, work area, job duties, or other information that would tend to reveal the individual’s identity), the privilege does not apply and such statements may be released.
  13. Inform witnesses that his or her interview statements may be released if he or she authorizes such a release or if he or she voluntarily discloses the statement to others, resulting in a waiver of the privilege.
  14. Inform witnesses in a tactful and non-threatening manner that making a false statement to a OHS Officer during the course of an investigation could be a criminal offense.

As a supervisor you need to know that, the investigator, should make an initial determination as to whether there is potential for a criminal violation. The decision will be based on consideration of the following:

1.  A fatality has occurred.

2.  There is evidence that an OH&S  standard has been violated and that the violation contributed to the death.

3.  There is reason to believe that the employer was aware of the requirements of the standard and knew that he was in violation of the standard, or that the employer was plainly indifferent to employee safety.

Where pertinent, investigation documentation may include:

A.  Personal Data – Victim.

1.  Name

2.  Address

3.  Telephone

4.  Age

5.  Sex

6.  Job title

7.  Date of employment

8.  Time in position

9.  Job being done at the time of the incident

10. Training for job being performed at time of the incident

11. Employee deceased/injured

12. Nature of injury — fracture, amputation, etc.

13. Prognosis of injured employee

B.  Incident Data.

1.  How and why did the incident occur?

2.  Physical layout

3.  Sketches/drawings

4.  Measurements

5.  Video/audio/photos – identify sources

6.  Was the accident work-related?

C.  Equipment or Process Involved.

1.  Equipment type

2.  Manufacturer

3.  Model

4.  Manufacturer’s instructions

5.  Kind of process

6.  Condition

7.  Misuse

8.  Maintenance program

9.  Equipment inspection (logs, reports)

10. Warning devices (detectors)

11. Tasks performed

12. How often equipment is used

13. Energy sources and disconnecting means identified

14. Supervision or instruction provided to employees involved in accident

D.  Witness Statements.

1.  Public

2.  Fellow employees

3.  Management

4.  Emergency responders

5.  Medical Personnel

E.  Safety and Health Management System.

1.  Does employer have a safety and/or health management system?

2.  Does the system address the type of hazard that resulted in the fatality/catastrophe?

F.  Multi-Employer Work Site — describe the contractual relationship of the employer with the other employers involved with the work being performed at the worksite.

To be competent, a supervisor must have enough knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and how it is to be performed. He or she must also be familiar with the OHSA and any regulations under it that apply to the workplace, and, know about any actual or potential health and safety hazards in the workplace.

Employers have other significant duties related to supporting a supervisor, including acquainting workers or supervisors with any hazards in the workplace; providing and maintaining equipment and protective devices; and, taking every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect workers. Workers also have duties that support the supervisor in his/her role, for example, to work safely and in compliance with the OHSA and regulations, and, to report any workplace hazards and contraventions of the law to the supervisor or employer.

Online Training For Supervisors:

A Supervisor’s Guide to Reasonable Suspicion Testing

ADA for Supervisors

Diversity & Discrimination Awareness for Supervisors

Due Diligence for Supervisors

Ground Disturbance for Supervisors 201

OH&S and the Law for Supervisors

Effective Communication for Supervisors

Fatigue Management for Supervisors


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