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Is Your Lead Hand a Supervisor? (In Ontario)

A rose by any other name is still a rose!  A Supervisor by any other name is still a Supervisor!

What is a Supervisor? In a nutshell, it is “the person in charge of the workplace”.

Can they?


  • Hire
  • Fire
  • Discipline
  • Schedule work
  • Schedule vacation time
  • Decide on the work being preformed
  • Discuss safety issues with workers
  • Provide safety training to workers
  • Discuss details of the job with workers
  • Deal directly with worker complaints


What is a Lead Hand? Assists the Supervisor in coordinating activities of workers.

The kicker is in the definition of a Supervisor.  It is more than just a title.   If you use your Lead Hand as a Supervisor, it doesn’t matter that they do not have the “title”. If they are in charge of the workplace, as directed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) then they must receive training as a Supervisor would.

If you are not doing this your company is in contradiction of the OHSA and as such open to Ministry Of Labour fines and orders.

According to the OHSA (among other things):

Duties of an Employer;

Sec 25: (c) when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person;


Sec 26: (l) carry out such training programs for workers, supervisors and committee members as may be prescribed.

Duties of a Supervisor;

Sec 27: supervisors must ensure that a worker:

1.(a) works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the OHS law and the regulations; and

(b) uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the worker’s employer requires to be used or worn.

2.(a) advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which they’re aware;

(b) where so prescribed, provide a worker with written instructions as to the measures to be taken for the worker’s protection; and

(c) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the worker’s protection.

So if your Lead Hand(s) are supervising, then they require “supervisor” training.

3 thoughts on “Is Your Lead Hand a Supervisor? (In Ontario)”

  1. the job of lead hand is bull as many persons who are lead hand think themselves as supervisor. a designation that has been created not to assist supervisor but to make him lazy especially in food production. the best thing will be to abolish this post

  2. I’m a lead hand and I do more work then hade of my employees your just pissed probably because you can’t do it

  3. I do believe that there’s a place for lead hands. I worked under a lead hand once, he was a necessary extension of the foreman, and as stated above, he knew the job well and had some training. When the foreman was on site or at meetings, the lead hand filled the position, but he was not the foreman, just his assistant, critical decisions still had to be made by the foreman.

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