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Supervisor responsibility for workplace safety

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OROSHA's) December newsletter discusses ways supervisors can better promote safety in the workplace.

The newsletter begins by discussing some of America's most tragic workplace accidents, including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire that occurred 100 years ago. The accident, which led to the death of 146 workers, was said to have been made worse by locked exit doors. Agency Administrator Michael Wood stated the event displayed "employers taking unacceptable risks with the lives of their workers in order to prevent pilferage."

The agency stated that safety can be greatly improved with better supervisor-employer relationships. OROSHA's requirements state that all employers are responsible for the safe performance of the work under their supervision, the safe conduct of the crew, and the safety of all workers.

Poor supervision can lead to confusion about safe practices and responsibilities, and put workers at risk for injury, the newsletter stated. It is up to a supervisor to explain safety requirements and how they relate to the job at hand to prevent injuries.

Supervisor responsibility includes training employees on safety requirements that apply to their jobs, including hazards, safety rules, and the proper use of required safety products.