These guidelines are intended to assist divisions in meeting Occupational Health and Safety Act and Workplace Violence Policy obligations. The Workplace Violence Policy and Guidelines for Implementing the Workplace Violence Policy define workplace violence, set out the roles and responsibilities of employees and management in preventing workplace violence, as well as for reporting, investigating and following up on incidents of workplace violence.
The procedures that are developed by a division based on these guidelines will form part of the division’s overall health and safety program. It is recommended that these procedures be developed and implemented in cooperation and consultation with the assigned People, Equity & Human Rights (PEHR) health and safety (H&S) consultants, joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) or health and safety representatives, and where appropriate, Corporate Security.
The potential for workplace violence and the nature of the workplace violence risk experienced within divisions is expected to vary based on the nature of the workplace and work performed. To ensure clarity, it is recommended that divisions describe their interpretation of the definition by using examples of inappropriate behaviours and acts among employees and among the clients and public with whom they come into contact.
The nature and extent of the program will be based on the risk factors/hazards and potential hazards identified by the risk assessment and should include the following elements:
Conduct an initial evaluation to determine whether a risk of violence exists due to the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work. A Workplace Violence Risk Assessment Form is provided as Appendix A. Divisions may add questions to this Form, if needed, to ensure all aspects of workplace violence within their workplaces and work operations are addressed. Management is encouraged to involve PEHR Health & Safety consultants and JHSCs in the evaluation.
The risk assessment includes a review of:
The steps include:
At the end of the Workplace Violence Risk Assessment, work locations/work operations will have identified workplace violence risk factors that will require controls. These controls may already be in place or may need to be introduced and implemented.
These risk assessments are to be reviewed at least annually, as well as when there are changes to the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work. Further risk assessments are also to be completed when an increase in the number and/or severity of workplace violence incidents is noted, in order to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to minimize or eliminate risks identified during investigation of these incidents. The risk assessment document should be revised to reflect changes identified as needed through the review process. The results of workplace violence risk assessment reviews and the measures in place to minimize or eliminate risks should be communicated to all employees to whom the assessment and protective measures apply.
A Workplace Violence Risk Factors and Controls Checklist (Appendix C) has been developed to assist divisions in identifying appropriate controls for identified risk factors. It should be noted that the list of identified controls by risk factor may not represent all measures available. Nor does one risk factor necessitate implementation of all measures listed. The application of identified and other controls should be evaluated within the context of the work environment and risk factors identified. Divisions are required to identify and implement controls appropriate to their workplaces and work operations.
While a Workplace Violence Risk Factors and Controls Checklist may be completed for clusters of similar positions or similar work locations, risk factors unique to individual work locations or operations must also be considered.
Where workplace violence risk factors (including potential risk factors) are identified, evaluation and implementation of appropriate corrective actions are required to ensure reasonable and practical measures are taken to reduce or eliminate the hazard or risk. Wherever possible, consideration should be given to re-organization of the work to eliminate the risk factor. If removal of the risk is not feasible with work organization changes, an effort to minimize the remaining risks through physical security improvements. It should be noted that divisional policies, safe work procedures, worker training, incident reporting and investigation, record keeping and regular program evaluation will be required regardless of risk factors identified or controls that are introduced.
Where the need is identified through a risk assessment, divisions should develop and implement the procedures to:
Where a potential risk factor/hazard is identified through the risk assessment, a procedure for responding to emergencies and other incidents of violence is required.
All workplace violence incidents must be reported, investigated and acted upon, as appropriate.
Divisions must establish an internal communication process to ensure workers are informed of the potential for violent behaviour among the clients they service. Additionally, consideration is to be given to notification of other divisions whose staff may be at risk if divisions encounter members of the public or clients with a history of violent behaviour.
In accordance with the decision of the Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee (Appendix J), the applicable union(s) are to be notified of the following types of workplace violence events:
Management (either directly involved or delegated) are to notify the applicable union(s) via e-mail as soon as practicable and no longer than 3 business days after the incident. JHSC co-chairs are to be copied on the e-mail. A copy of the Workplace Violence and Threat Report (both sections – supervisor and employee) regarding the incident is to be provided.
The process should also include the response to employee reports of workplace incidents associated with domestic violence (i.e., the abusive partner harasses, threatens, stalks, etc. a City employee). The consequences of ignoring the presence of domestic violence in the workplace can be very grave for the abused employee and co-workers. Please refer to the City’s policy and guidelines entitled to “Addressing Domestic/ Intimate Partner Violence in the Workplace“.
Divisional management staff are to advise their employees of the results of workplace violence risks assessment and of the violence-related risks associated with their jobs. Employees at risk or potential risk and their supervisors must receive specific instruction in the identification of hazards and appropriate prevention and response procedures. Records of instruction must be maintained. The frequency of refresher instruction should be determined in consultation with the assigned H&S consultant.
It is also recommended that employees be informed that they can seek advice and assistance from their supervisor, JHSC/H&S representative, designated Human Resources health and safety consultant, Corporate Security, Employee Assistance Program, their union or staff association, and the Human Rights Office. Information provided by employees to the Human Rights Office and the Employee Assistance Program will remain confidential and will only be released with their informed, written consent. The exceptions to this are situations where individuals may pose a serious threat to themselves or others, or where required by law (e.g., the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse).
All employees are to have access to information and instruction. Appendix F provides information with respect to workplace violence information and instruction resources. Appendix G is a safety talk regarding workplace violence that can be used by supervisory staff during staff meetings or tailgate talks to ensure that all employees, regardless of the risk factors that are associated with their jobs, are aware of:
This safety talk must be supplemented with information with respect to measures and procedures that are in place to protect employees from workplace violence and expectations of employees regarding procedures that are part of the division’s workplace violence program.
After the implementation of the policy, annual review of the policy is required to identify trends and focus H&S efforts for improvement.
Appendix A – Workplace Violence Risk Assessment Form
Appendix B – Workplace Violence Employee Survey
Appendix C – Workplace Violence Risk Factors and Controls Checklist
Appendix D – Workplace Violence and Threat Report
Appendix E – A Workplace Violence Incident Response Contact List
Appendix F – Training Information and Resources
Appendix G – Workplace Violence Safety Talk
Appendix H – Workplace Violence Legislation/Policy Compliance Checklist
Appendix I – Supervisor Checklist for Addressing Workplace Violence Incidents
Appendix J – Notification of Significant Workplace Violent Incidents
Appendices are available in msword and pdf on the intranet
Occupational Health and Safety Co-ordinating Committee (OHSCC)
October 15, 2019