Leadership's Safety Information
The responsibility for the health and safety of assigned employees is primarily vested in the leader. Leaders play a critical role in ensuring understanding of safety practices, and providing incentive to do things right.
Every Wisconsin State Agency has a legal obligation to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for its employees according to Wisconsin State Statute 101.055.
In addition, each agency is required by Executive Order #194 to develop and implement a written comprehensive health and safety program to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries and illness. State of WI Executive Order #194 - Safety & Loss Prevention
Leaders have an affirmative responsibility to set up and maintain a safety program.
The key principles include:
- personal protection
- the work environment
- proper equipment maintenance
- safety education
- departmental supervision and control
The UW Oshkosh Campus Safety Office (x4484) is available for consultation in any of these areas.
In addition, two valuable resources to assist you in developing your written safety program are A Guide to Developing Your Written Health and Safety Program, and Safety Fundamentals for Supervisors. These are published by the Wisconsin Bureau of State Risk Management.
The leader must continually review safety measures for their relationship to the physical wellbeing of every student, visitor, and employee on the campus. The following is a list of some of the principle responsibilities that leaders have in the area of health and safety for all employees under his or her supervision.
Development of Proper Attitudes
- The leader is responsible for the development of the proper attitude toward health and safety in all workers under his/her leadership. There is no single way to develop such an attitude. However, the following two activities will help promote the development of a positive attitude:
i. Personal Example — the leader must set the proper example by his/her personal behavior. When a work area or situation requires personal protective apparel, the leader must also use the necessary apparel. In addition, the leader must never act unsafely or violate a safety rule or an established safe work practice.
ii. Acceptance of Responsibilities — the leader can best convince other employees of the importance of health and safety issues by carrying out his/her safety responsibilities conscientiously and with conviction.
Knowledge of Safe Work Procedures
- The leader is responsible for knowing the safe work procedures that must be used to perform each job task. It is also his/her responsibility to know what personal protective equipment is needed for each task and how this equipment must be properly used and maintained.
Orientation and Training of Employees
- It is the leader’s responsibility to train and instruct employees so they can perform their work safely. This includes the proper use of machinery, hand tools, and the use of chemicals and other hazardous materials. The leader should also stress the importance of proper body mechanics and lifting techniques to prevent back and other related injuries. Special attention and instruction should be given to new employees or employees who have been recently assigned to a new job or different job duties. All training provided by the leader should be documented.
Detection of Employee Personal Difficulties
- The leader should make every reasonable effort to observe each worker under his/her supervision some time during each workday. It is the leader's responsibility (within reasonable limits) to detect personal difficulties such as illness or disability among his/her workers. When such conditions are detected, proper action should be taken.
Enforcement of Safe Practices and Regulations
- It is the leader's responsibility to enforce safe work practices and procedures. Failure to do so invites an increase in unsafe acts and conditions.
Conducting Planned Observations
- The leader should conduct planned observations of his/her employees for the purpose of insuring compliance with safe work practices. Whenever unsafe acts are observed, the leader should inform the worker immediately and explain why the act was unsafe. Depending upon the circumstance, disciplinary action may be warranted.
Prevention of Unsafe Conditions
- Many unsafe conditions are the result of what employees do or fail to do properly. It is the leader's responsibility to train and periodically remind employees of what conditions to look for, and how to correct or report these conditions.
Conducting Planned Safety Inspections
- The leader should conduct periodic inspections of tools, vehicles, machinery and assigned work areas. Planned inspections are an effective and systematic method of discovering physical conditions that could contribute to a work injury.
Conducting Safety Meetings
- The leader should periodically conduct safety meetings to help increase safety awareness and keep employees informed about their organizations health and safety programs. Safety meetings should be kept short and cover relevant topics such as recent job accidents or specific job hazards.
Correcting Unsafe Conditions
- The leader should take immediate steps to correct unsafe conditions within his/her authority and ability. When an unsafe condition cannot be immediately corrected, the leader should take temporary precautionary measures. A follow-up system should also be used to ensure that corrective measures are completed in a timely fashion.
Investigating Unsafe Conditions
- The leader is responsible for conducting accident investigations as soon after the accident as possible. All the facts and opinions regarding the causes of the accident should be compiled and documented.
Employee Injury and/or Illness
The leader is also responsible for becoming familiar with Worker's Compensation so they can advise employees regarding their rights.
Contact the Worker’s Compensation office at 424-2070 for additional information.
Leaders should also become familiar with campus procedures regarding accident reporting, payment of claims, and form completion.