A safety supervisor inspects workplaces and directs employees to ensure that people and property are kept safe at all times. He or she might work for food service organizations, manufacturing plants, hospitals, construction companies, or one of many other industries where health and safety are priorities. Many safety supervisors regularly visit facilities to enforce legal regulations and help establish more effective procedures. In order to work as a safety supervisor, an individual is usually required to possess strong problem-solving, writing, and verbal communication skills.
Attentive safety supervisors are essential members of construction crews and manufacturing plant workforces. Supervisors in industry and construction oversee the work performed by laborers to make sure they are following legal and company safety guidelines. A safety supervisor at a construction site also regularly inspects equipment, tools, and building materials to ensure quality and safety. Supervisors in manufacturing plants make sure that machinery is properly maintained and that workers wear appropriate safety gear, such as helmets and goggles, at all times.
Ensuring the health of employees and customers in food service facilities is the primary responsibility of a safety supervisor. Restaurants, cafeterias, and food processing plants frequently staff safety supervisors to oversee the preparation of food. Professionals work in kitchens, making sure that ingredients are properly stored to prevent contamination. They check freezers and refrigerators, as well as cooking pots and ovens to help prevent spoilage and potentially devastating outbreaks of bacteria.
Some safety supervisors work for government regulation agencies. Also called health and safety inspectors, government safety supervisors visit workplaces to evaluate working conditions. They tour facilities to inspect equipment and processes. A safety supervisor is authorized to issue warnings or fines when he or she discovers violations of safety codes, such as improper food storage or blocked fire exits. When violations are discovered, the supervisor explains problems to employees and managers and informs them how they can bring their establishment back up to code.
The requirements to become a safety supervisor vary between different locations, industries, and specific companies. Most workers hold at least bachelor's degrees in occupational health and safety, industrial hygiene, or related fields. Many employers promote workers to the ranks of safety supervisor after they gain several years of experience in an industry and show strong leadership potential. Food safety supervisors are generally expected to complete detailed training programs that cover safe food handling and preparation strategies. Professionals who want to work for government organizations are often required to take certification exams that test their understanding of complex laws and procedures.