The Supervisor Responsibility and Role occupies a critical position in the safety workplace. Employees designated as supervisors are considered under the law to be agents of the employers with authority to create legal liability against the employer for their actions, including their negligent or intentional acts that may constitute violations of OSHA regulations. Many supervisors do set the professional standards of the position they occupy, this status or the extent to which their actions can create legal liability. More importantly, many supervisors are totally blind sided of their own exposure to personal liability or worse, personal criminal liability.
The responsibilities and expectations placed on supervisors are enormous at times production, workforce management, quality control, budgets, and of course safety. These “deliverables” communicated to them by management require the supervisor to work within the employers system to effectively perform their duties.Federal law requires that the employer indemnify or “hold-harmless” its employees from their actions as long as the employee’s conduct were not grossly negligent and they were acting within the scope of the duties/responsibilities. Given these conditions an employer cannot sue their employees. Likewise if an employee is sued by another party for a work-related activity the employer must defend the sued employee.A good supervisor places a high priority on coaching employees. To establish suitable goals, action plans and time lines, good coaching involves working with employees.
The supervisor delegates and also provides support to the employee as they complete their action plans and ongoing guidance. Supervisors are often confronted with walking a fine line between being a supervisor and the employee’s confidant.Usually the supervisor understands the organization and the employee’s profession better than the employee. The supervisor has a unique position to give ongoing orders and advice to the employee about job and career. The employee can look to the supervisor as a mentor for direction and development. An effective roll-model relationship requires the supervisor to accept the responsibility of mentorship. A good supervisor can be a priceless addition to the career of an employee.