1 min read

Does a supervisor always need to be on duty?

Q: At our concrete panel construction factory, from around 5:30pm (when the factory supervisor finishes) until concrete panels are finished, there are 3–4 employees who stay until the end of the process unsupervised. We ensure there is always a first aider with them, but should a supervisor stay with them as well? They are all fully trained and competent in what they do.

A: It is important that your business reviews the various activities being undertaken and assesses the requirement for supervision for each activity at any particular time, e.g. are the most dangerous activities undertaken in particular work areas or at certain times? Each activity should be categorised by taking into account:

  • the level of risk;
  • the skills of the workers;
  • the knowledge of the workers; and
  • the experience of the workers.

The riskier an activity, the more likely the need for greater supervision. You should undertake this assessment process for the activities that the business’s factory workers are conducting after 5:30pm. If these activities are deemed high risk, it is advisable for a supervisor to be present as well.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Supervision of safe work for current advice.

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