Resources - Organizational Behavior

Sample Assignment of Safety Responsibilities

President/Owner/Site Manager

  • Establish a policy to hold the worksite in compliance with all applicable Federal or State standards and to provide safe and healthful work and working conditions for every person at the site.
  • Provide the leadership and resources to carry out the stated company safety and health policy.
  • Resolve conflicts of priority where safety and health are concerned.
  • Set objectives and support safety and health personnel and employees in their requests for information, training, experts, facilities, tools, and equipment needed to conduct an effective program and to establish a safe and healthy workplace.
  • Assign clear responsibility for the various aspects of the safety and health program. Ensure that employees with assigned responsibilities have adequate resources and authority to perform their duties.
  • Hold accountable those employees (including managers and supervisors) with assigned responsibilities by checking to make sure they are meeting their responsibilities and by correcting or rewarding them, as appropriate.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of managers and supervisors in the safety and health program.
  • Keep in touch with employees and the company's safety and health activities, assist in giving direction and authority for those activities, and visibly show your involvement.
  • Set a good example by following safety and health rules and safe work practices.
  • Require all vendors, customers, subcontractors and visitors to comply with the company safety and health policy.
  • Thoroughly understand the hazards and potential hazards that employees may be exposed to at the worksite. Ensure that a comprehensive program of prevention and control is set up and operating.
  • Provide a reliable system for employees to report to appropriate managers any conditions and situations that appear hazardous. Ensure that responses to such reports are appropriate and timely.
  • Encourage employees to use the established hazard reporting system(s). Guarantee a strict prohibition of retribution for all employees, supervisors and managers who use the system(s).
  • Establish an inspection system, including self-inspections, and review the results periodically to ensure proper and timely hazard correction.
  • Establish a plant preventive maintenance program to ensure proper care and functioning of equipment and facilities.
  • Review accident reports to keep informed of causes and trends.
  • Provide a medical program, emergency response system and first aid facilities adequate for the size and hazards of the worksite.
  • Require periodic drills to ensure that each employee knows what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Establish training programs that improve the ability of all employees, including managers and supervisors, to recognize and understand hazards and to protect themselves and others.

Safety Director/Coordinator

  • Maintain safety and health expertise through training, reading, conferences and use of outside experts.
  • Keep informed of and be able to interpret laws and standards dealing with employee risk reduction in this industry and illness and injury recordkeeping requirements.
  • Act as the eyes, ears, and "conscience" of top management where employee safety and health are concerned.
  • Keep top management advised of all significant safety and health developments, including the status and results of hazard evaluations, inspections, and accident investigations, and any serious problems or deficiencies in the overall safety and health program.
  • Working with managers, supervisors, hourly employees and experts as needed, develop a complete inventory of hazards and potential hazards, and plan a program of prevention and control.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the plant preventive maintenance program in ensuring a safe and healthful workplace.
  • Conduct a hazard analysis that includes hazard detection and plans for prevention or control whenever new equipment, facilities or materials are designed, purchased or used, and whenever new processes are designed.
  • Provide technical assistance and support to production supervisors and employees in their safety and health activities.
  • Assist management to ensure that appropriate general plant safety and health rules are developed, communicated and understood.
  • Assist in or oversee the development of a system for consistent and firm enforcement of the rules and safe work practices.
  • Assist in or oversee the development for personal protection, industrial hygiene, safety and fire prevention.
  • Inspect and/or assist in inspection of facilities to detect hazards that may have escaped established prevention and control mechanisms and to uncover any previously undetected hazards.
  • Investigate or oversee investigation of employee reports of hazards.  Respond to employee safety and health suggestions.
  • Assist supervisors in investigating accidents and incidents such as property damage and near-misses.
  • Provide technical assistance to employees in the performance of their duties under the safety and health program.
  • Assist in developing and providing safety and health training to all employees so that they will understand the hazards of the workplace and their responsibility to protect themselves and others.
  • Oversee, analyze and critique periodic emergency drills to improve worksite emergency readiness.

Plant Superintendent/Division Managers/Directors

  • Provide the leadership and direction essential to maintain the safety and health policy as the fundamental priority in all operations.
  • Hold all subordinate supervisors accountable for all assigned safety and health responsibilities, including their responsibility to ensure that employees under their direction comply with all safety and health policies, procedures and rules.
  • * Evaluate the safety and health performance of subordinate supervisors taking into account these indicators of good performance: low injury and illness experience; good housekeeping; a creative, cooperative involvement in safety and health activities; a positive approach to safety and health problems and solutions; and a willingness to implement recommendations of professionals.
  • Ensure the safety of the physical plant including structural features, equipment and the working environment. Insist that a high level of housekeeping be maintained, that safe working procedures be established, and that employees follow these procedures and apply good judgment to the hazardous aspects of all tasks. Participate in regular inspections of the plant to observe safety and health conditions and to communicate with employees. Offer positive reinforcement and instruction during these tours, and require the correction of any hazards.
  • Actively participate in and support employee participation in safety and health program activities. Provide timely and appropriate follow-up to recommendations made by any employee (or joint labor-management) group operating under the safety and health program.
  • Make certain that all new facilities, equipment, materials and processes are analyzed for potential hazards before completion of design or purchase, that all potential hazards are prevented or controlled before their introduction into the worksite, that tools and machinery are used as designed, and that all equipment is properly maintained.
  • Ensure that job hazard analyses are conducted periodically for all jobs, with particular emphasis on tasks known to be dangerous, so that hazards can be uncovered and prevented or controlled.
  • Make sure that employees know about and are encouraged to use systems for reporting hazards and making safety and health suggestions, that they are protected from harassment, that their input are genuinely considered, and that their ideas are adopted when helpful and feasible.
  • Ensure that prompt corrective action is taken whenever and wherever hazards are recognized or unsafe acts are observed.
  • Make sure that all hazardous tasks are covered by specific safe work procedures or rules to minimize injury.
  • Provide all necessary safety and health equipment and protective devices, and make sure employees understand and use them properly.
  • Ensure that all injured persons, regardless how minor the injuries, receive prompt and appropriate medical treatment.
  • Ensure that all accidents and incidents are promptly reported, thoroughly investigated and properly recorded, and that safety award programs do not discourage reporting of any incident that must be recorded on the log.
  • Keep abreast of accident and injury trends. Take proper corrective action, when needed, to reverse these trends.
  • Ensure that all employees are physically qualified to perform their work.
  • Make sure that all employees are trained and, when necessary, retrained to recognize and understand hazards and to follow safe work procedures for each hazardous job.
  • Ensure that supervisors hold periodic safety and health meetings to review and analyze the causes of accidents/incidents and to promote free discussion of hazardous work problems and possible solutions.
  • Use the safety director to help promote aggressive and effective safety and health programs.
  • Help develop and implement emergency procedures. Make sure that all employees have opportunities to practice their emergency duties.
  • Participate in safety and health program evaluation.
  • Refer to corporate level conflicts between productivity and safety and health.
  • Refer to corporate level major concerns and capital needs for safety and health.


  • Supervise and evaluate worker performance, including each worker's safety and health behavior and work methods.
  • Encourage and actively support employee involvement in the safety and health program. Provide positive reinforcement and recognition to outstanding individual and group performance.
  • Obtain and maintain up-to-date knowledge and skills required to detect safety and health violations and other hazards, such as improperly functioning machinery, tools, or equipment.
  • Maintain good housekeeping in your work area.
  • Ensure that the plant preventive maintenance program is being followed and that any repair and replacement needs found during those activities are tracked to completion.
  • Conduct frequent inspections, using a checklist, to evaluate your area's physical conditions.
  • Investigate accidents thoroughly to determine how hazards can be eliminated or controlled..
  • Hold employees accountable for their safety and health responsibilities.  Actively discourage short cuts. Consistently and fairly enforce safe work procedures and safety and health rules.
  • Provide continuing on-the-job training in safe work procedures and the use and maintenance of personal protective equipment.
  • Make sure each employee knows what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Practice what you preach. Be thorough and conscientious in following the safe work procedures and safety and health rules that apply to the area.
  • Refer to higher management any resource problems you cannot resolve.

Employee Responsibilities

  • Learn the rules. Understand them, follow them and avoid short cuts.
  • Review the safety and health educational material posed on bulletin boards and distributed to work areas. If you do not understand something, ask questions.
  • Take personal responsibility for keeping yourself, your co-workers and equipment free from mishaps.
  • Be certain that you completely understand instructions before starting work. Avoid taking short cuts through safe work procedures.
  • Seek information on any hazardous chemicals you work with in order to understand their dangers and how to protect yourself.
  • If you have any doubt about the safety and/or healthfulness of a task, stop and get instructions from your supervisor before continuing.
  • If you have a suggestion for reducing safety and health risks, offer it. It is your responsibility to get involved.
  • Take part in the employee participation system and support other employees in their assigned roles under the safety and health program.
  • Make sure you understand exactly what your responsibilities are in emergency situations.
  • Know how and where medical help can be obtained.
  • Report all accidents and unsafe conditions and acts to your supervisor or use the system set up to allow reporting elsewhere.

Source: Source: Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

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Copyright ©2000-2019 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).