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Site supervision requirements

This resource provides persons in control of a building site detailed information on the supervision necessary for work on their sites to be carried out safely and in accordance with work health and safety requirements.

Persons in control of a building site must provide the degree of supervision necessary for work on their sites to be carried out safely and in accordance with work health and safety requirements.  This includes supervising employees, contractors and visitors the site. 

While site supervision needs not be full-time, it needs to be effective and carried out by a competent supervisor.

What is effective site safety supervision?

Effective site safety supervision means being able to provide general direction, coordination and oversight of health and safety in a timely manner. This includes the supervisor being able to: 

  • monitor the on-site work practices, processes and procedures for compliance with the builder’s and/or contractors’ health and safety procedures and any safe work method statements, 
  • provide the necessary coordination and general instruction for work associated with one process so as not to endanger persons engaged in other processes,
  • be contactable to provide direction in the event of uncertainty on what is required to safeguard health and safety,
  • decide when it is necessary to suspend a process,
  • deal with injuries, incidents and emergencies promptly, including issuing any directions necessary to safeguard people from harm.

The builder’s contractors also have obligations to provide the necessary degree of supervision to their workers to ensure they are following safe work practices and procedures in a manner consistent with the instruction and training provided.

What makes a site supervisor competent?

If you put someone in a supervisory position, you must also ensure they are trained and competent and to undertake the role. This means the supervisor needs to have an awareness and understanding of:

  • construction sequences, processes and work practices, 
  • work health and safety responsibilities of the builder, contractors and anyone else engaged on site, 
  • the hazards and risks of the work carried out on-site,
  • the hazards and risks associated with the types of materials, chemicals, plant and  equipment and tools used at the site
  • the hazards and risks associated with nearby structures and services, e.g., roads, powerlines and other services.
  • control measures necessary to safeguard workers, including young and inexperienced workers that may require more direct supervision,
  • control measures necessary to prevent harm to visitors and the general public,

The site the supervisor should also have the clearly delegated authority of the builder to make prompt decisions on behalf of the builder and issue any directions that are necessary in relation to health and safety matters. 

For further information on this matter contact your local workplace health and safety authority.

To find out more, contact HIA's Building Services team.

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