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Ensuring Supervisor Competency

  • 11 December 2017
  • Author: Safety Ahead
  • Number of views: 4859
Ensuring Supervisor Competency

On April 28, 2015, which is Canada’s National Day of Mourning, Brian Frederick Tomyn (age 55) was working as a labourer for Sahib Contracting Inc. He had been working with a backhoe operator digging a trench on a home construction site in Edmonton when he was sent into the trench to connect new water and sewer lines to a nearby home. While he was working, the trench wall collapsed, burying him alive. The trench had not been braced in any way and the walls were soft from recent rainy weather. Firefighters worked for several hours in an attempt to free him. At 10:30 pm, Brian had been buried for more than 5 hours and hopes were dwindling that there would a positive outcome. Unfortunately, they were not able to get him out alive and when they finally reached him, his hands were still grasping the equipment to connect the pipes. Brian Frederick Tomyn was pronounced dead at 5am on April 29, 2015.

On Wednesday November 1, 2017, Sahib Contracting Inc. was sentenced to a fine of $425,000.00 plus a Victim Fine Surcharge of $63,750.00. The job site supervisor, Sukhwinder Nagra, pled guilty to 2(2)(a) of the OHS Act, as a worker engaged in an occupation, failure to protect the health and safety of another worker. He was sentenced to 4 months in jail. 4 months! Let that sink in.

Brian Tomyn’s death could have been prevented if Sahib Contracting Inc. and its supervisor, Sukhwinder Nagra, had ensured that the work being performed on site was done safely and as the law requires. Supervisors have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all workers on their site and by sending Brian Tomyn into an unstable trench without proper shoring, Sahib Contracting Inc. and it's supervisor Sukhwinder Nagra, neglected their responsibilities and cost him his life.

Supervisors play a very important role in the workplace, they set the example for the workers to follow. Supervisors are looked to by their workers to provide guidance, leadership and support in their daily tasks. Employers also rely on their supervisors to monitor and mentor their workers, as well as make sure that all workers understand their rights and responsibilities and are performing their duties in a safe and healthy manner.

Supervisors have an obligation to the workers that they supervise. They must do everything practicable (due diligence) to ensure the health and safety of the workers. Supervisors must inform their workers of any known hazards and the controls to minimize the risk. They must involve workers in the hazard assessment process and ensure they understand and follow it. Supervision must ensure that workers have the proper PPE and the applicable required training. Last but not least, supervisors must know what the workers’ rights and responsibilities are and be able to communicate them to the worker.

Because supervisors have such an important role, it is vital that they receive training to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities. Training, such as the Safety Ahead Safety Management Supervisor Training Program, can greatly improve a supervisors, and ultimately the companies, chances of successfully managing their health and safety management system.

The Safety Management Supervisor Training Program is a two day training program covering all aspects of construction safety through 2 concentrated days. This program gives supervisors the systems-based foundation, competency, leadership, confidence and skills required to effectively manage their sites. You know that better supervisors produce better results, so giving your supervisors the tools to effectively manage site operations is key to your business and your clients’ satisfaction.

And you’re in luck! Safety Ahead has class spaces available in the next Safety Management Supervisor Training course! The course is provided at our Edmonton training facility on January 24 & 25, 2018. To register for our SMS Training, please give us a call at 780-473-4772 or visit our website training page!

And remember….. Think Safe, Think Ahead!


OHS Canada

CBC News Edmonton

Photo Credit:

Global News Edmonton


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