Division Title
Health and Wellness

Safety Responsibilities for Supervisors

Supervisors are responsible for a great deal of what goes on day to day in the workplace; it's not just a position that solely assigns tasks. Supervisors must ensure a safe and healthful workplace for employees. Employees must be able to report unsafe or unhealthful workplace conditions or hazards to a supervisor without fear of reprisal.


The following is a list of primary responsibilities that supervisors have in the area of occupational safety and health for all employees under their supervision.


Conduct Orientation and Training of Employees:

Train and instruct employees so they can perform their work safely. Know what personal protective equipment is needed for each task and how this equipment must be properly used, stored and maintained. When there are mandated safety training courses, ensure that your employees take them and that they are appropriately documented.


Enforce Safe Work Practices:

It's the supervisors responsibility to enforce safe work practices and procedures; failure to do so is an invitation for accidents to occur. Workers must be encouraged to identify unsafe or unhealthful workplace conditions or hazards and absolutely not be disciplined for doing so!


Correct Unsafe Conditions: 

Supervisors' must take immediate steps to correct unsafe or unhealthful workplace conditions or hazards within their authority and ability to do so. When an unsafe or unhealthful workplace condition or hazard cannot be immediately corrected, the supervisor must take temporary precautionary measures. Supervisors must follow-up to ensure that corrective measures are completed in a timely manner to address the hazard.


Prevent Lingering Unsafe or Unhealthful Workplace Conditions or Hazards:

Many near miss incidents are caused by unsafe or unhealthful workplace conditions or hazards. It's the supervisor's responsibility to train and periodically remind employees of what to look for and how to correct or report unsafe conditions or hazards. If a hazard is identified, the supervisor must act.


Investigate Workplace Accidents:

Supervisors are responsible for conducting accident investigations and for ensuring that all occupationally injured employees report to the Occupational Medical Service (OMS) immediately. Note: NIH Policy requires all injuries, including those sustained by contractors, to be reported to OMS. OMS works with the pision of Occupational Health and Safety to identify hazardous conditions leading to injuries. The OMS will document and treat any acute injuries. All facts and opinions regarding the cause of the accident must be compiled and documented on the Workers Compensation Forms (CA-1 or CA-2). Supervisors must review the circumstances, sign and submit the forms within 48 hours.


Promote Quick Return to Work:

Employees must be encouraged to return to work as soon as possible. The longer an employee is away from work, the less likely he or she will actually return. When possible, light or limited duties should be identified and considered, to assist in returning the employee to work.