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Workplace Safety - Email Alert

Who is a "supervisor" updated MOL guidelines

In our March 4th 2014 Email Alert we advised employers on how the MOL can interpret who is a supervisor based on past court decisions. 

In February of this year, the MOL released their guidelines on who is considered a "supervisor" under the OHSA.  It is recommended that employers familiarize themselves with these guidelines.  We strongly encourage employers to be aware of who is considered a supervisor and undertake basic supervisor competency training for those individuals.

The OHSA defines a supervisor as a person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker. This is a broad definition that can apply to many different people in a workplace, including people in management, on the construction site and individuals whose job title does not include the word "supervisor".

The definition of supervisor has two separate parts. Having either charge of a workplace, or authority over a worker, is sufficient for a person to be considered a supervisor.

In general, "charge of a workplace" refers to broad control over the planning of work and how it is carried out, while "authority over a worker" can be seen as a more specific power to ensure a worker's compliance with directions.

The MOL has provided two (2) lists of "powers and responsibilities that may be exercised or carried out by a supervisor". 

The first list are primary indicators of being in a supervisory role.  They include:

1.  Powers that are primary indicators of being in a supervisory role include the power to:

  • hire, fire or discipline,
  • recommend hiring, firing or discipline,
  • promote, demote or transfer,
  • decide a worker's rate of pay,
  • award bonuses,
  • approve vacation time,
  • grant leaves of absence, or
  • enforce procedures established to protect worker health and safety.

2. The second list includes responsibilities that would generally be carried out on the job by front-line supervisors who interact directly with workers and include the following responsibilities:

  • determining the tasks to be done, and by whom,
  • directing and monitoring how work is performed,
  • managing available resources such as staff, facilities, equipment, budget,
  • deciding on and arranging for equipment to be used on a job site,
  • deciding the make-up of a work crew,
  • deciding on and scheduling hours of work,
  • dealing directly with workers' complaints, or
  • directing staff and other resources to address health and safety concerns.

As mentioned earlier, employers need to assess and evaluate there employees to determine if anyone meets the above two criteria and provide training as required.  

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For further information please contact Greg Sathmary at (613) 260-0600.

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