Employers in BC must be aware of their responsibility to protect their workers from workplace hazards, including violence. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation sets out the minimum standards for workplace health and safety. To stay compliant with the law, employers must abide by this regulation to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.
What is considered workplace violence?
Under BC legislation, workplace violence is defined as: “the attempted or actual exercise by a person, other than a worker, of any physical force so as to cause injury to a worker, and includes any threatening statement or behaviour which gives a worker reasonable cause to believe that he or she is at risk of injury.”
Workplace violence can occur between coworkers or between employees and customers.
Employer Obligations to Prevent Violence
Employers must take appropriate action to eliminate or minimize the risk of workplace violence. This involves conducting a risk assessment, which should evaluate the circumstances of the work the employer is engaged in, the number and nature of previous incidents of workplace violence, and experiences at similar workplaces. If a risk of workplace violence is found, employers must implement a workplace violence prevention program.
Developing a Violence Prevention Program
A workplace violence prevention program should include risk assessments, a written policy against violence, procedures for prevention, training for workers and supervisors, procedures for reporting and following up on incidents, and a program review. This program should be developed in partnership with a health and safety representative or a joint health and safety committee and should be part of your general health and safety program.
Need help developing a violence prevention program?
Speak to our health and safety advisors to get assistance with updating a policy or developing a program. We can help you protect your business and stay up to date with current legislation in BC. Call us today: 1 (833) 200-5239.