Are you Protecting Your Employees from Workplace Violence?
Everyone is entitled to work in a healthy and safe workplace. As an employer, it’s important to ensure your employees always feel comfortable on the job. In Ontario, employers have the greatest responsibilities with respect to workplace health and safety – and, this includes managing workplace violence. At Peninsula, we know that effective employee management is multifaceted. With constantly changing priorities, it can be difficult to manage all aspects of your employees’ work experience, however, workplace violence is not an issue you want to overlook. In fact, all employers have specific duties regarding workplace violence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Your responsibilities range from developing and implementing policies for violence in the workplace to providing resources and training to all employees. Yet, understanding the law on workplace violence is the first step to ensuring you’re meeting all requirements as an employer.
What Qualifies as Violence in the Workplace?
The OHSA defines workplace violence as the exercise, attempt to exercise or a threat of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker. However, this isn’t limited to violence within the office space, it can also happen offsite as a result of interactions on the job.
Managing Violence in the Workplace, as the Employer
The OHSA guidelines provide the minimum workplace health and safety requirements your business has to demonstrate. Of course, you can go above and beyond the stated regulations because creating an environment that is safe for all employees is essential for their well-being and the success of your company. Here are some preventative measures you can take to mitigate violence in the workplace:
- Develop and implement a workplace violence policy (and re-assess regularly)
- Provide violence prevention training
- Define workplace violence in concrete language
- Share clear examples of unacceptable behaviour and working conditions
- Outline disciplinary actions if workplace violence occurs
- Encourage reporting of all incidents and ensure it’s a confidential process
- Outline procedures for investigating incidents and resolving complaints
- Investigate all incidents
- Establish safe workplace practices
Get Ahead of Workplace Violence
There is no foolproof approach to eliminating or preventing workplace violence. Even with precautions in place, nothing can guarantee that one of your employees won’t become the victim to or perpetrator of workplace violence. But there are steps you can take that can help reduce the risk. At Peninsula, we’re trained HR specialists with a range of expertise that can answer any of your questions — any day, any time. Because we know that the success of your business is reliant on the health and safety of your employees.