Workplace violence is a serious concern for employees and employers in Ontario. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires employers to take every reasonable precaution to protect their workers from violence in the workplace. In this article, we will discuss some strategies that employers can use to prevent violence in their workplace.
Develop a workplace violence policy
The first step in preventing workplace violence is to develop a clear policy that outlines what constitutes violence, harassment, and bullying. The policy should also outline the steps that employees should take if they are the victims of violence or if they witness violence. The policy should be communicated to all employees and posted in a visible location.
Conduct a risk assessment
The OHSA requires employers to assess the risks of violence in the workplace. This assessment should take into account the type of work being done, the location of the workplace, the number of employees, and any other factors that could increase the risk of violence. The results of the assessment should be used to develop a plan to prevent violence.
Employees should be trained on the workplace violence policy and on how to identify and respond to potential situations of violence. This training should include information on how to de-escalate conflicts and how to access support services.
Implement security measures
Employers should consider implementing security measures to prevent violence in the workplace. These measures might include security guards, security cameras, or other security technology.
Foster a positive work culture
A positive work culture can help to prevent violence in the workplace. Employers should encourage open communication, support employees’ mental health and well-being, and promote a culture of respect and inclusion.
Respond to incidents of violence
If an incident of violence occurs in the workplace, employers should have a plan in place to respond. This plan should include steps for providing support to employees who have been affected, conducting an investigation, and taking appropriate disciplinary action.
Review and update the violence prevention plan
Employers should regularly review and update their violence prevention plan to ensure that it is effective and addresses the latest risks. This may involve consulting with employees, conducting additional risk assessments, or making changes to security measures.
Seek support and guidance
Employers who are unsure of how to prevent violence in their workplace can seek support and guidance from government agencies, such as the Ministry of Labour, or from professional organizations, such as the Ontario Safety Association for Community and Healthcare.
Preventing violence in the workplace is a critical responsibility for employers in Ontario. By following the strategies outlined above and complying with the requirements of the OHSA, employers can create a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.