Too many injuries happen when no one takes responsibility for effectively supervising safety on site.
It doesn’t matter what your job is – everyone has a role in safety. When a WorkSafe Inspector visits your site, they will expect you to know yours.
You have the primary responsibility for safety on site. It’s a duty that can’t be contracted out. Your job is to make sure all supervisors are doing their job.
- If you appoint a site supervisor, ensure they know construction safety.
- Ensure the site has a safety plan and that it is being followed.
- Encourage supervisors and contractors to report safety issues, and fix them promptly.
- Keep safety communication channels open.
Principal contractors can supervise a site themselves or delegate safety responsibilities to a supervisor. Your job is to keep the site safe, even when you are not there.
- Know the site safety plan and make sure everyone sticks to it.
- Ensure trades are inducted before they start work.
- Always know who is working on your site and conduct regular inspections.
- Be contactable and make sure the right people have your phone number.
- Ensure contractors are doing their part with site rules and Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS).
- Find and fix hazards or, if you can’t, promptly raise the issue to the next level.
- Ensure the site is ready for each trade before they arrive.
- Talk regularly with contractors and their crews about safety on site.
You are responsible for the safety of your employees and contractors. You might appoint a leading hand or foreman to manage your crew’s safety on site.
- Know what your crew is up to at all times.
- Ensure your crew is inducted and obeys site rules.
- Pay specific attention to the training and supervision of young or inexperienced workers.
- Use a SWMS for high risk construction work, and make sure it suits the site.
- Let the site supervisor know when your crew is on site.
- Find and fix hazards or, if you can’t, report them to the site supervisor.
- Talk regularly with your crew, site supervisor and other contractors about safety on site.
Tradespeople, labourers and apprentices
- You must take care of your own health and safety, and the safety of others. You must co-operate with your employer’s safety requirements.
- Hold a Construction Induction (CI) card and the right licences for your job.
- Be inducted to a site before you start work.
- Follow site rules and SWMS.
- Wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Clean up as you go.
- Find and fix hazards or, if you can’t, report them to your supervisor.
Find out more about site supervision and OHS by enrolling in these training courses:
- A variety of courses for site supervisors are offered by the Master Builders Association of Victoria (MBAV) and the Housing Industry Association (HIA). These courses are tailored for specific construction sectors and vary in detail and length.
- Safety skills for leading hands is a free one day course for plumbers who lead small crews, developed by the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia (MPMSAA) and Plumbing Trades and Employees Union (PTEU).
- Health and Safety Representative training provides an introduction to health and safety issues and can be the starting point for supervisor training. WorkSafe has approved several organisations throughout Victoria, including unions, industry associations and insurers, to tailor and deliver this course to the construction industry.
If you supervise apprentice electricians, take a look at EnergySafe Victoria's Supervision guidelines for apprentices working on electrical installations, on EnegrySafe Victoria's website.