Blog Post

How To Talk To Your Supervisor About Safety

Can you spot all the potential injuries in this picture? Would you be prepared to talk to your supervisor about it?

In the construction sector, which includes the heavy civil industry, there were 267 fatalities from 2009-2013, according to the WCB. Construction represented the highest percentage of Alberta’s workplace injuries at a whopping 37%. That is why we at Taurus focus on the safety of every job site, from Edmonton, to Fort Saskatchewan, to anywhere else in Alberta we will be working. That is why it is vitality important to be able to talk about safety with your supervisor.

Here is a good rundown that should make it easier to communicate with your supervisor about job site safety.
Your employer is responsible to train and supervise you and make sure your work is safe, but your employer can’t be expected to judge whether or not you’re comfortable with the information you received or confident that you can do the job correctly and safely. Everyone is different. Everyone has different experiences in their past to draw from, so you need to talk to the supervisor when:

  • You need more information or training.
  • You’d like to have someone watch you do the job to make sure you’re doing it right.
  • You know there is a hazard in the work.
  • You have a suggestion on how to make the work safer.
  • You suspect there is something in the work that could endanger you or another worker.
  • You have any type of question about your job.

Here are some tips on how to talk to your supervisor effectively when you feel your job site may not be safe.

  • Keep a positive attitude and speak out of concern for your safety and those working with you.
  • Be polite and respectful.
  • Avoid confrontational words and behaviour.
  • Try not to put your supervisor on the spot.
  • Don’t blame individuals.
  • Try saying “I” instead of “you”. For example, “I noticed the guard is not in place like it usually is”, rather than “You took the guard off”.
  • Watch your body language don’t point your finger.
  • If you can, make a positive suggestion to solve the problem.
  • State your safety issue clearly and concisely. Don’t bring other issues like pay or time off into the discussion about the safety issue.
  • End on a positive note. Let the supervisor know that you want to do the best job that you can, but this task is new to you and you want to do it safely, for everyone’s sake.

At the same time, make sure you get the answers you need and the problem receives attention as soon as possible. Don’t operate machinery, or do any task you think isn’t safe, until the problem is checked out. The safest job site is one where you and your supervisor have an open dialogue about safety.

Hope this helps!