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6. Examples of Measures and Procedures for Workplace Violence Programs

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

The workplace violence program required by section 32.0.2 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) must include four elements.

This document suggests measures, procedures and processes for each of the mandatory elements. In addition, there are suggestions for additional elements that could be included in the program.

General

The workplace violence program should clearly indicate the roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, workers and others in the measures, procedures and processes.

The program should include the workplace violence definition from the OHSA, and should clearly indicate the actions or behaviours that are covered by it.

An assessment of risks arising from the nature of the workplace, type and conditions of work must inform the development of the workplace violence program. The assessment must take circumstances specific to the workplace and common to similar workplaces into account. The risks must be reassessed as often as is necessary to ensure the related policy and program continue to protect workers.

Required Element: Measures and procedures to control the risks of workplace violence identified in the risk assessment as likely to expose a worker to physical injury.

Measures and procedures may include:

  • safe work procedures;
  • personal protective equipment;
  • design or physical layout of the workplace such as doors with clear windows, adequate lighting, location and structure of counters, barriers, etc.;
  • emergency procedures that would be relevant to violent or potentially violent incidents, such as designated safe locations for emergency situations or lockdown procedures;
  • procedures for informing workers of a person with a history of violence, as appropriate in the circumstances, or potentially violent situations
  • worker training on the measures, procedures and processes set out in the workplace violence policy and program;
  • worker training on managing a person who may become aggressive or violent.

Required Element: Measures and procedures for summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur

Measures and procedures may include:

  • equipment to summon assistance such as fixed or personal alarms, locator or tracking systems, phones, cell phones, etc.;
  • positioning workers within calling distance of each other;
  • emergency telephone numbers and/or e-mail addresses.

Required Element: Measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of workplace violence to the employer or supervisor

Measures and procedures may include:

  • how, when and to whom a worker should report incidents or threats;
  • forms or other reporting mechanisms (there could be different reporting processes depending on the source of the violence);
  • the type of information to be collected (e.g. the details of the incident, names of the workers and others involved in or witness to the incident, date of the incident);
  • roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, workers, joint health and safety committees, health and safety representatives and others in the incident reporting process;
  • when the incident requires external reporting (i.e. to the police, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Ministry of Labour, etc.).

Required Element: How the employer will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints of workplace violence

This may include:

  • how and when investigations will be conducted;
  • information about the roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, workers, joint health and safety committees, health and safety representatives and others in the investigation process;
  • the type of information that will be collected during an investigation,
  • guidance on confidentiality and disclosure of information;
  • how the workplace will deal with incidents of workplace violence;
  • timeframes for investigations and any corrective actions;
  • how records about the incident and investigation will be stored and managed.

Additional Workplace Violence Program Elements

In addition to the mandatory elements above, a workplace violence program could also include information to support compliance with requirements in the OHSA, such as:

  • measures and procedures for assessing risks of workplace violence;
  • procedures for reviewing the workplace violence policy and maintaining the workplace violence program;
  • training plans.

A program could also include additional measures, procedures and processes, depending on the circumstances of a particular workplace.

For example, a program could include:

  • posting of a “code of conduct” for anyone in the workplace, setting out expectations on behaviour in the workplace and consequences of violating those expectations;
  • information about an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a peer helper program and their role in workplace violence situations;
  • post-traumatic stress prevention and response procedures;
  • domestic or sexual violence response and support plans;
  • workplace violence awareness training;
  • regular monitoring of the workplace for violence issues.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.