Who’s Responsible for Workplace Safety?
Everyone knows having a safe place to work is important. The process of creating a safe workspace can look different from business to business, even industry to industry. The specific hazards any given business must deal with can be vastly different from another. They have to be managed all the same, though. So who’s responsible for making sure that happens?
When it comes to workplace safety, supervisors and those in management are in arguably the best position to enforce safety daily. They oversee the day-to-day operations and work relatively closely with lower-level employees. Since employees generally look to supervisors and managers for guidance and as an example, they must observe safety standards themselves as well as enforce them. Supervisors must be consistent about enforcing safety policies if employees are to be expected to follow them and take them seriously.
The human resources department is primarily responsible for the paperwork end of workplace safety. When it comes to making sure accident reports are filed and records are made of completed safety training, that’s where HR comes in. HR managers for construction companies have unique responsibilities around ensuring safety and proper training. Because construction can be a high-risk job, it’s especially important to make sure incidents and training are properly documented. This is especially helpful when it comes to protecting the business from lawsuits that may not be as much the company’s fault as it would otherwise appear to be.
Employees can’t be expected to show up to their first day on the job knowing everything there is to know about the job’s hazards and the proper ways to handle them. That’s where trainers come in. Trainers have the responsibility to make sure that employees are properly prepared when it comes to workplace safety, not just at the beginning of their employment, but throughout its entirety. Regular safety training is vital to keeping employees up to date with the latest safety information, policies, and procedures. Hold refresher courses to avoid allowing safety training to expire, keeping in mind that there are other times you should hold safety training as well.
While it’s hard to argue that employees at any level don’t carry some degree of responsibility, ultimately it’s up to the business leaders to make sure the workplace is safe. Supervisors, the HR department, and trainers all have critical roles to play. Coming to work shouldn’t mean taking your health and safety into your own hands. Legal obligations aside, it’s just the right thing to do.
Read this next: How to Protect Yourself Before Working on a Construction Site