Supervisor and executive safety roles and responsibilities

Last updated: January 18, 2023

Supervisors and executives in the BC Public Service are directly responsible for the safety and health of employees and other workers that they direct or supervise. This information outlines their roles and responsibilities.

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If you're a BC Public Service employee or manager and require immediate assistance, call 911 if needed, then contact the BC Public Service Agency's 24-hour emergency safety line (IDIR restricted).

For more information, review Urgent support and reporting in the BC Public Service.


Supervisors are directly responsible for the safety and health of employees and other workers that they direct or supervise.

Their roles and responsibilities:

  • Ensure the health and safety of all workers under your direct supervision
  • Know the WorkSafeBC safety requirements that apply to the work being supervised and ensure they are followed
  • Know the BCGEU Master Agreement safety requirements
  • Ensure workers under your supervision are aware of all known or reasonably foreseeable health and safety hazards where they work
  • Provide orientation and training to new and existing workers at your workplace
  • Consult and cooperate with the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee members or worker representatives, and cooperate with others carrying out occupational health and safety duties, including WorkSafeBC officers
  • Ensure that the appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing are available, worn when required, and inspected and maintained
  • Investigate unsafe conditions reported to you, and ensure that corrective action is taken without delay
  • Learn more about incident/accident prevention and investigation


A strong workplace safety culture is established and supported at the highest level and throughout all of the BC Public Service.

Their roles and responsibilities:    

  • Review the roles and responsibilities of all employees outlined in the Workers Compensation Act
  • Establish safety policies and expectations for the ministry, division, branch and region
  • Ensure that all operations consider the health and safety of employees
  • Establish and communicate occupational safety and health plans and goals
  • Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the occupational health and safety program including a regular review of safety statistics

Workplace health and safety concerns all employees in the workplace.

The Workers Compensation Act outlines workplace health and safety expectations for the employer and managers/supervisors, employees and Joint Occupational Safety Committee representatives.

Emergency roles and responsibilities

Supervisors must ensure that their workplace has developed and implemented emergency preparedness and response procedures specific to that location.

They need to:

  • Designate and train emergency wardens
  • Develop and train staff in response procedures
  • Establish procedures for business continuity
  • Ensure employees understand expectations during drills and actual emergencies
  • Ensure hazard reduction inspections are regularly conducted
  • Address concerns raised by emergency wardens
  • Conduct an annual review of the emergency response plan

First aid roles and responsibilities

Supervisors must ensure first aid services are provided at their workplace.

They may also assign an employer representative to so do.

They need to:

  • Complete a first aid needs assessment
  • Provide required first aid equipment, facilities, supplies and services
  • Ensure employee awareness about the first aid services and procedures
  • Ensure first aid attendants' schedules permit adequate coverage during regular work hours
  • Ensure adequate first aid attendant backup at all times when necessary
  • Ensure first aid attendants have been trained, tested and re-certified as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation
  • Ensure the communication methods used to summon a first aid attendant is effective, and is tested at least annually
  • Ensure that the appropriate financial allowance level is paid to first aid attendants
  • Ensure consultation with the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee on first aid services and issues at the workplace

General safety roles and responsibilities

All workers have safety roles and responsibilities.

Follow safe work procedures, report unsafe conditions or incidents and be prepared to respond in the event of a workplace injury or emergency.

Whether you're a supervisor or front-line staff, be sure to:

  • Understand your workplace health and safety requirements
  • Inspect equipment and the workplace regularly
  • Be alert for hazards
  • Immediately report unsafe work practices and conditions to your supervisor
  • Report incidents/accidents, near misses, injuries and illnesses immediately to your supervisor
  • Follow safe work practices and procedures
  • Cooperate with others on matters relating to occupational safety and health

Employees' safety rights

All workers have 4 safety rights:

  1. The right to know
    You have a right to know what hazards are present in the workplace, and to be given the information, training and supervision you need to protect yourself.
  2. The right to participate
    You have a right to participate in keeping your workplace healthy and safe. This may include selecting or being a health and safety representative or committee member. You also have a right to report unsafe conditions and practices.
  3. The right to refuse unsafe work
    You must refuse work that you think could be dangerous to yourself or your co-workers. Review Refusing unsafe work in the BC Public Service.
  4. The right to protection from prohibited action
    An employer or Union, or a person acting on behalf of the employer or Union, must not take or threaten a prohibited action against a worker exercising any OHS duty or right as required under the Workers Compensation Act, Part 2, Division 6.