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HR Tips Q4 – Supervisors and Safety

Do you supervise staff or higher degree research students?

Supervisors play an important role in setting the culture of a workplace; whether that be a research group or an office.  Your staff will naturally take their lead from you as to what is normal and acceptable in the workplace.  This means that you are in an extremely important position to lead acceptable practices and standards of behaviour within your area.

To assist you in the important role you play as a supervisor in the area of safety, we have created an easy to understand statement of safety principles for supervisors. This statement can be used to guide you in setting and communicating safety expectations, being thoughtful of the experience and capability of those you supervise, being mindful of hazards, making safety normal, and seeking advice or information when unsure.

It is important to understand that as a supervisor of others, including postgraduate students, you have responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA).  These responsibilities include ensuring that appropriate hazard management has been put in place for the activities you supervise and that your staff and students have the necessary information, instruction and training to be able to undertake their activities safely. It is also important that you monitor the activities of your staff and students to ensure that the safety controls are being correctly implemented.

Please take a few moments to reflect on the safety culture of your team or research group and to consider the actions you might take to improve the safety understanding and the safety behaviours of your staff and students.

Have you downloaded the University’s incident reporting tool, UniSafe? When things do not go to plan and safety issues or injuries arise it is vital that you ensure that these are reported through UniSafe.

And remember, safety does not always mean physical safety. Psychological safety is equally important. The supervisor’s toolkit has important information on all aspects of safety at the University and includes a mental health toolkit which can provide you with practical guidance on how to support a staff member who may need assistance with coping at work.

Who can I contact if I need to discuss my safety responsibilities?

If you have any questions regarding the important safety role you play as a supervisor please contact one of our HSW Team.

Where can I find more HR Tips?

Click here to find more useful HR Tips.

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