Leadership, roles, and responsibilities

The employer/manager/owner of all businesses in BC – regardless of their size – is responsible for the leadership of the safety and health programs. This includes the effectiveness and improvement of your health and safety program.  It also means, as a leader, you must provide the safeguards to ensure safe conditions for your workers.

The responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace are a shared responsibility between own/operators, supervisors/managers, and workers.

The first element of your occupational health and safety program should include:

  • A health and safety policy
  • Defined roles and responsibilities for managers, supervisors, workers, and others for health and safety in your business.


Roles and Responsibilities

Employer responsibilities

  • Develop a health and safety program and comply with the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation
  • Create a safe workplace through:
    • training and education
    • appropriate supervision
    • policies, procedures, and equipment that support a safe workplace
  • Workplace inspections and risk management
  • Establish a first aid program
  • Address issues and problems reported by workers

Supervisor responsibilities:

  • Orient new workers
  • Train workers regularly
  • Hold regular safety meetings with employees
  • Perform inspections and investigations
  • Reports any health and safety hazards
  • Resolve unsafe conditions or behaviours

Worker responsibilities:

  • Learn and follow safe work procedures
  • Correct or report hazards
  • Participate in inspections and investigations when appropriate
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when required
  • Help create a safe workplace and recommend improvements for health and safety

In a small business, these roles may overlap.

Your health and safety policy

A health and safety policy illustrates an organization’s commitment to health and safety and is a critical element of an OHS (occupational health and safety) program. Your health and safety policy should:

  • Include the signature of the most senior manager within the organization
  • Be reviewed and signed annually
  • Include your company’s commitment to health and safety
  • State a commitment to legislative compliance
  • Assign health and safety roles and responsibilities for workers, supervisors, managers, and contractors