Workers vs. Supervisors – How to Train Each on Safety


Safety represents a key responsibility for any company and training your workforce in the highest safety standards should occupy a key place in your priorities. But not every employee should get the same training regime.

This isn’t to say that some employees are exempt from the need for safety training. It’s imperative for everyone. Precautions and proper procedures need to be applied top to bottom, from the Bentley-driving CEO to the intern who uses her late-1990s Corolla to pick up the coffee.

But safety procedures have different meaning to different employees. This division is most stark when dealing with supervisors and front-line workers. How these groups relate to safety procedures informs how you should go about training them.

Here are three differences to keep in mind:

Regulatory Compliance

Supervisors require a deeper knowledge of the nuances of the regulatory requirements that help guide your safety procedures, such as OSHA standards.

For front-line workers, you can give them a set of rules and show them the proper way to maintain compliance. Supervisors will likely contribute to creating those rules, requiring them to understand the underlying regulations.

Providing your supervisory team additional training in the minutia of the regulatory system could pay large dividends. A supervisor’s ability to understand and apply the regulations can save money and held decrease the likelihood of an accident.

Cross Communication

Front-line workers operate under safety rules on an ongoing basis. Hour after hour, day after day, they follow the procedures as part of their normal routine. This might not be true for supervisors.

Safety regulations exist as a much more abstract concept for supervisors. This can lead to a disconnect. Workers might ignore difficult-to-follow rules or set important procedures aside to make unrealistic production quotas.

For this reason, communication is key. Workers and supervisors may need different training courses, but they should spend some time learning the procedures together. And there should be a system of ongoing communication to make sure all necessary procedures are followed all the time.

Practical Application vs. Oversight

As we’ve noted, a supervisor’s relationship to the safety regulations is different from a front-line worker.

Training for a front-line worker should involve more rigorous practical applications – learning the day-to-day techniques to keep safe. Meanwhile, a supervisor must prepare for the administrative side of the safety regime.

A supervisor has the responsibility to oversee compliance and respond appropriately if there is an accident. They’ll need to know what paperwork to fill out and how. And in the aftermath of any incident, they will need to know the appropriate steps to deal with the investigation and response, including communication with authorities.

Keeping safe is a matter of having the right procedures, the right training and the right personnel. DHR can help put that in place. Contact their expert staffing professionals today to find out more.

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