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Step 2: Assess the Risks of Workplace Violence

  • Issued: April 21, 2010
  • Content last reviewed: June 2013
  • PDF VersionPDF [ 2.27 Mb / 40 pages | Download Adobe Reader ]
  • DISCLAIMER: The material contained in this document is for information and reference purposes only and is not intended as legal or professional advice. The adoption of the practices described in this document may not meet all the needs, requirements, or obligations of individual workplaces.

Arrow Running from Last Step Back to First Step
Arrow Pointing To First Step Recognize Right Arrow Leading to Next Step Assess Right Arrow Leading to Next Step Control Right Arrow Leading to Next Step Monitor and Evaluate
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  1. Review Information From Your Workplace, the Community, and Similar Workplaces
  2. Review Your Existing Policies, Programs, and Training
  3. Complete the Workplace Violence Assessments

The second step in the process is to assess the risks of violence in your workplace. If your workplace has multiple worksites or locations, you should consider following the process outlined in this document for specific work locations (for example, a retail store in a mall) and jobs (for example, cashier).

Different workplaces may have different risks of workplace violence. However, there are some general approaches that can be used in most workplaces to assess risks, and these are outlined in this document and in the Toolbox. Your workplace may have additional risks of violence that are not addressed here, and you will need to consider these on an individual basis.

It is recommended that workers, supervisors, joint health and safety committees, health and safety representatives, and/or unions be involved in the assessment of the risks of workplace violence. The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that employers advise the joint health and safety committee, health and safety representative, or workers of the results of the assessment.

Review Information From Your Workplace, the Community and Similar Workplaces

The information you gathered in Step 1 will help you identify whether there are jobs or locations in which violent incidents have already occurred, how your workers feel about their safety at work, and whether there are higher risks of workplace violence in your workplace.

This information will also help you to decide if different jobs might require different assessments. For example, a company could have salespeople who are on the road for most of the week, as well as office staff.

Review Your Existing Policies, Programs, and Training

Use the Policy, Program, and Training Review Tool in the Toolbox to help you review the policies, programs, measures, and procedures you have in place for workplace violence.

Check off the Yes and No columns to identify whether your workplace has the policies, programs, or training that are highlighted.

You may also use the Policy, Program, and Training Review Tool during Step 3, Controlling the Risks of Workplace Violence, when you are setting up your workplace violence policy and program.

Complete the Workplace Violence Assessments

The Workplace Violence Assessments document in the Toolbox has three parts:

  • a general physical environmental assessment that should be completed by all workplaces;
  • the Risk Factor Selection Tool to help you to identify the risks associated with specific work activities or work conditions (it will also help you prioritize the risks, if you identify more than one); and,
  • nine assessments, specific to nine risk factors (you only need to fill out the assessments that are relevant to your workplace or to specific jobs or locations — consult the diagram below to see the specific risk factors).
Complete the General Physical Environment AssessmentRight Arrow Leading to Next StepComplete the Risk Factor Selection ToolRight Arrow Leading to Next StepIf a specific risk exists in your workplace, complete the assessment for that specific risk
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  • Direct Contact with Clients (CC)
  • Handling Cash (HC)
  • Working with Unstable or Volatile Clients (VC)
  • Working Alone or in Small Numbers (WA)
  • Working in a Community-based Setting (CS)
  • Mobile Workplace (MW)
  • Working in High-Crime Areas (CA)
  • Securing/Protecting Valuable Goods (SV)
  • Transporting People and/or Goods (TG)

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