Supervisor Competency – 5 Steps to Ensuring Compliance

Supervisors play a pivotal role in any workplace – they are the middle ground between managers and employees – and carry a lot of responsibility in regards to OHS laws. Legislation requires employers to ensure workers are adequately trained and supervised, making it critical to ensure the competency of supervisors.

The process of ensuring supervisor competency can be overwhelming when viewed as a large project. It is much easier to view the project in steps and tackle each step individually.

1.Identify who meets the “supervisor” criteria – OHS law varies slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but the essence remains the same. Managers and Supervisors who have been designated by the employer to act as a representative are held to the same rules as the employer themselves.

2.Provide proper training to Supervisors – Review the work tasks they are responsible for supervising, as well as the areas where the work occurs. Begin with a list of current training provided to Supervisors and any new training that is identified as beneficial. Online services providing e-learning courses such as WHMIS, TDG, Workplace Harassment, Electrical Safety, Time Management and more are helpful to give effective training solutions to supervisors in a flexible and cost effective format.

3.Test Supervisors after training to verify competency – Certificates of training are valuable but must be supported by competency checks. After training workers use a checklist to verify that Supervisors have retained the information necessary to allow them to competently perform their work. Verification methods may include a visual observance, verbal questioning, written test or other method.

4.Review the performance of Supervisors annually – It’s important to conduct performance reviews to ensure Supervisors understand that their competency isn’t a one-time check – it’s ongoing. Use the annual review as a time to commend good performance, identify areas of improvement and plan for future training. Reviews should be communicated to the Supervisor to allow them access to the information that will help them improve. Get feedback from the Supervisor about the competency program at this time as well – use this to make your program better!

5.Monitor the workplace for changes – Set aside time to review the workplace for any changes that have occurred. Updates to tools and equipment may mean that new training is required and broadening the work scope will require updates to competency checklists and training programs.

By implementing these steps one at a time your company will be able to continue working in a productive manner while making significant strides towards becoming a competent and compliant organization.

©Sotera Safety Inc.