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BACKGROUNDER

Blitz Targets Violence in Health Care Workplaces

Ministry of Labour inspectors will focus on enforcing requirements to protect workers from violence at health care workplaces in February and March.

The increased enforcement is part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative, launched in June 2008.

The Ministry of Labour inspectors will check that employers are complying with requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation.

Violence is a major hazard for workers in the health care sector. Workers directly involved in the personal care of patients and clients are at the highest risk for violence.

Blitz Focus

The blitz will focus on employer compliance with the requirements in the OHSA for violence and harassment policies and programs.

Inspectors will mainly visit:

  • Hospitals that provide psychiatric care
  • Long-term care homes
  • Residential group homes for persons with mental or physical disabilities

According to analysis of 2011 WSIB “lost-time injuries” (injuries resulting in missed work) data by the Public Services Health and Safety Association:

  • The health care sector has the highest incidence of workplace violence related lost time injuries, as compared to other sectors in Ontario.
  • Overall, this sector accounts for about 31 per cent of all Ontario workplace lost time injuries due to violence, primarily attributed to workplace violence in hospitals that provide psychiatric care, and in residential group homes and long-term care homes.

Priorities

MOL inspectors will focus on the following key priorities:

Policies and Programs: Inspectors will check that employers have prepared policies and developed programs to maintain the policies with respect to workplace violence and harassment.

Information and Instruction: Inspectors will check that employers have provided workers with information and instruction on the contents of the workplace violence and harassment policies and programs.

Violence Risks: Inspectors will check that employers have assessed the risks of violence that could arise based on the nature of the workplace, type of work and conditions of work. They will check that the employer reassesses the risk of workplace violence as often as needed to ensure that the related policies and programs continue to protect workers from workplace violence.

Violence Control: Inspectors will check that the employer has developed, established and put into effect written measures and procedures to control the risks of violence identified in an assessmentat workplaces regulated by the Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation. Inspectors will also check that this has been done in consultation with the Joint Health and Safety Committee or health and safety representative.

Domestic Violence: Inspectors will check that employers who are aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that domestic violence may occur in the workplace are taking every reasonable precaution in the circumstances to protect a worker at risk of physical violence.

Incident Reporting: Inspectors will check that employers report injury from violent incidents to the Joint Health and Safety Committee or Health and Safety Representative, and a trade Union (if any). The inspector may also require the employer to notify a Ministry of Labour director.

Matt Blajer, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405

ontario.ca/labour-news
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