WHS supervisor responsibilities in meat processing plants

General WHS responsibility

In this context ‘supervisor’ is defined as anyone who has responsibilities for overseeing the work of others. The supervisor has a vital role in ensuring the work environment is safe. The supervisor is responsible for:

  • implementing the WHS Management Plan
  • leading by example and promoting sound WHS practices at every opportunity
  • regularly reviewing WHS documentation to ensure full understanding of policy and program with the aim of improving performance
  • making sure that work activities are carried out in a safe manner
  • participating in WHS audits
  • planning to do all work safely, including work with other departments
  • providing advice and assistance on WHS matters to employees
  • being part of the planning and design of changes in the workplace
  • recommending and implementing, as appropriate, any relevant WHS training
  • actioning WHS reports and carrying out workplace inspections
  • supporting the conduct of WHS programs, including meetings
  • allowing the WHS committee members adequate time to participate in WHS inspections investigating hazard reports and ensuring that they are completed and corrective actions undertaken
  • carrying out inductions (if required), Toolbox Talks and team meetings on WHS issues
  • being a part of incident investigations as required
  • undertaking inspections of work to ensure that WHS control measure are implemented and effective
  • other WHS duties as directed by senior managers (this can include plant managers, CEOs, WHS managers etc.)

Responsibilities related to hazards

The following supervisor responsibilities relating to hazards must be reviewed and applied to your own site and section:

  • communicating with workers regarding hazards and procedures to control risks
  • recording and reporting hazards, incidents, near misses, injuries and illness
  • conducting risk assessments and prepare Safe Work Method Statements (Work instructions)
  • taking action to fix hazards, or if a supervisor doesn’t have the authority to fix the hazard, reporting it to a manager who does
  • checking the hazard has been fixed and controls are in place to minimise the risks
  • overseeing the proper use of PPE by employees
  • whenever training or demonstrating a task always ensuring the proper PPE for that task is used
  • conducting PPE inspections
  • ensuring that workers only handle hazardous substances after training and assessment
  • complying with storage and handling requirements for hazardous substances
  • ensuring that workers maintain licenses if required
  • ensuring safe systems of work are followed with the use of all vehicles
  • ensuring pre-operational checklists are used with vehicles
  • ensuring that all electrical equipment is compliant (i.e. tested and tagged)
  • reporting all electrical issues promptly to the relevant manager
  • isolating workers from any suspect electrical items that appear unsafe
  • ensuring that the confined spaces are not entered by employees, unless they are compliant with workplace policies and programs and appropriately trained
  • ensuring that all workers comply with the use of hearing PPE
  • conducting regular compliance inspections of hearing protectors
  • ensuring that all equipment is maintained in safe working order by reporting faults to maintenance
  • ensuring that workers use danger tags and or lock out procedures when working on, or cleaning equipment that may cause injury
  • ensuring that out of service tags, danger tags and lockout equipment are available for use
  • ensuring full compliance with safe operation of X-ray equipment (If used)
  • ensuring that all work at heights is conducted in a safe manner
  • ensuring that workers at risk of blood borne diseases comply with requirements
  • ensuring that only licensed, trained employees utilise firearms
  • assisting in executing emergency plans.

Responsibilities related to incidents

  • ensuring the person involved has received first aid
  • securing the incident area so that it is safe
  • investigating the incident as soon as possible after it occurs
  • completing the site Incident Report Form including corrective action, risk assessment and the control measures implemented as soon as possible
  • notifying the relevant authority or manager if deemed a serious injury in line with relevant legislation.

Responsibilities related to injury management

  • directing injured workers to appropriate person to make a workers’ compensation claim (as appropriate)
  • completing any paperwork associated with workers’ compensation claim in line with site requirements
  • if rehabilitation is required, monitoring and supporting the injured worker’s return to work program
  • assisting the Injury Management Co-ordinator with identification and assessment of potential suitable duties for consideration as part of the injured worker’s return to work plan
  • ensuring the implementation of any training and/or workplace modifications as agreed to as part of a return to work plan
  • monitoring the injured worker’s return to work plan progress and liaise with the Injury Management Co-ordinator on a regular basis.


Responsibilities related to safe work methods

  • ensuring that all workers, within their responsibility, adhere to company WHS policy, procedures and rules
  • communicating with workers regarding hazards and procedures to control risks
  • ensuring that all workers are trained in the specifics for the tasks involved in their position and carry out these tasks in a safe manner
  • ensuring safe working practices are developed, and followed by all workers under your control
  • instilling a culture whereby risks are identified, assessed and controlled for all activities in your work group
  • providing WHS information to all workers under your control
  • ensuring safe work practices are implemented and followed by all workers under your control
  • preparing for emergencies with regard to equipment and training.