SAFE WORKPLACE VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE

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1 PROCEDURE 421 Adopted June 10, 2010 Last Revised November 2014 Review Date November 2015 Annual Review SAFE WORKPLACE VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE 1) PURPOSE Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board (HPEDSB) promotes personal interactions which are respectful, cooperative, positive and mutually supportive in a welcoming and safe atmosphere. HPEDSB promotes a violence-free workplace and deems any act of workplace violence as unacceptable conduct. Workplace violence in any form erodes the mutual trust and confidence that are essential to the wellbeing of all employees. 2) DEFINITIONS a) Workplace violence - As defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), workplace violence is: i) the exercise of physical force by a person against an employee, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to an employee ii) an attempt to exercise physical force against an employee, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to an employee, iii) a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for an employee to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against an employee, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to an employee. b) For workplace violence to occur, a person must apply or attempt to apply physical force against an employee. However, he or she does not need to have the capacity to appreciate these actions could cause physical harm. 3) APPLICATION This procedure applies to: a) all work activities that occur while on board premises, or while engaging in workplace activities or workplace social events. b) all employees of the board community, including but not limited to, trustees, students, employees, visitors, such as parents and community members, volunteers, permit holders, contractors, and employees of other organizations who work on or are invited onto board property. 4) WORKPLACE VIOLENCE a) General duties of workplace parties i) The OHSA sets out the general duties for an: (1) employer under Section 25; (2) supervisor under Section 27; and (3) worker under Section 28. Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Page 1 of 6

2 b) These general duties also apply to workplace violence [Section ]. See A Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act for more information about these duties as well as the duties of other workplace parties such as contractors, licensees and owners. Also refer to Workplace Violence and Harassment: Understanding the Law, Ministry of Labour, March Both documents are located on the Health and Safety and Safe Workplace web page of the HPEDSB website. c) Employers must: i) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect employees. This includes protecting employees from the hazard of workplace violence [Section 25(2)(h)]; ii) provide information, instruction and supervision to an employee to protect the health and safety of the employee [Section 25(2)(a)]; iii) ensure equipment, materials and protective devices provided by them are maintained in a good condition [Section 25(1)(b)]; iv) provide assistance and co-operation to the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) [Section 25(2)(e)]; and v) prepare and review, at least annually, a written Occupational Health and Safety Procedure [Section 25(2)(j)]. d) Supervisors must: i) ensure all employees work in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the OHSA and its regulations [Section 27(1)(a)]; ii) ensure all employees use or wear the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the employer requires to be used or worn [Section 27(1)(b)]; iii) advise all employees of the existence of any actual or potential danger to the health or safety of all employees of which the supervisor is aware [Section 27(2)(a)]; and iv) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect employees [Section 27(2)(c)]. e) Workers must: i) work in compliance with the OHSA and its regulations [Section 28(1)(a)]; ii) use or wear equipment, protective devices or clothing required by the employer [Section 28(1)(b)]; iii) report the absence of, or defect in, any equipment or protective devise of which the employee is aware [Section 28(1)(c)]; iv) report any contravention of the OHSA or its regulations, or the existence of any hazard the employee knows of to the employer or supervisor [Section 28(1)(d)]; and v) not engage in any prank, contest, feat of strength, unnecessary running or rough and boisterous conduct [Section 28(2)(c)]. While this type of behaviour may not constitute workplace violence, it must not be allowed. If allowed to continue, this behaviour may escalate into workplace violence. 5) ASSESSING THE RISKS OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE a) Under the OHSA, the employer has a number of responsibilities for assessing the risks of workplace violence. b) The employer must: i) assess the risk of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, type of work or conditions of work [Section (1)]. ii) take into account the circumstances of the workplace and circumstances common to similar workplaces, as well as any other elements prescribed in regulation [Section (2)]; and iii) develop measures and procedures to control identified risks that are likely to expose an employee to physical injury. These measures and procedures must be part of the workplace violence program [Section (2(a)]. c) Risk assessments: Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Page 2 of 6

3 i) The health and safety officer will coordinate risk assessments as required (Sections and ), including; (1) baseline assessments of each site; and (2) supporting supervisor lead assessments at specific work places. ii) In order to develop measures to control identified risks that are likely to expose an employee to physical injury. Measures could include training, student safety plans, equipment, threat assessment, etc. 6) ASSESSING AND CONTROLLING RISKS a) Factors that may increase the risk of workplace violence include: i) handling cash; ii) protecting or securing valuables; iii) transporting people and goods; iv) working from a mobile workplace (such as a vehicle); v) engaging in public or community contact; vi) working with unstable or volatile people; vii) working alone or with just a few people; and viii) working late nights or very early mornings. b) When assessing risks, the following characteristics should be considered: i) Workplace location risk of workplace violence occurring due to the nature of the community in which the workplace is located, working in the community (off-site of the workplace, e.g., home schooling), working alone or in isolation, physical attributes of the workplace, areas on the periphery of the workplace (e.g., parking lots, portables in playing fields), controls on entry to the workplace and on entry to parts of the workplace, use of the workplace by nonemployees (e.g., community groups). Some of these may be considered significant enough that separate assessments need to be completed. ii) General workplace Clients/students/visitors risk of workplace violence occurring due to individual students, clients, or employees who create a specific risk of workplace violence, e.g., students, clients, or employees with a history of violence. iii) Handling money risk of workplace violence occurring due to employees and others handling money arising from school fund-raising activities such as selling material items, school photos, school trips, charitable donations, employee funds (e.g., coffee fund, special occasions), school fees (e.g., locks, equipment, supplies, uniforms, etc.), registration fees, (e.g., night school). c) As part of the risk assessment, current controls, procedures and measures for controlling these risks should be identified, along with additional controls, procedures, and measures for controlling risk which may be necessary. When additional controls, procedures, and measures are identified, it is suggested that a plan be developed for the implementation of these measures. d) Assessment results: i) HPEDSB will provide the JHSC with a written copy of the assessment results [OHSA section (3)a]. ii) HPEDSB will repeat the assessment as often as necessary to ensure workplace violence procedure and related program continue to protect employees from workplace violence [OHSA section (4)]. e) Workplace Violence Program i) The health and safety officer will work with site supervisors to coordinate the Workplace Violence Program to support this procedure, including measures and procedures to control identified risks of physical injury, for summoning immediate assistance, for reporting incidents of workplace violence, and for investigation and follow up of incidents or complaints. Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Page 3 of 6

4 7) DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Domestic violence occurring in the workplace is recognized by the OHSA as workplace violence. Unlike many risks which may lend themselves to regular and ongoing assessment, the risk of domestic violence taking place in the workplace is much more variable and less easily anticipated. The OHSA does not require an assessment of the risks of domestic violence becoming workplace violence. However, HPEDSB is committed to educating employees regarding domestic violence, and to take every reasonable precaution to protect employees from domestic violence that is likely to expose employees to physical injury in the workplace. a) Education HPEDSB employees shall be made aware of the seriousness of domestic violence, and their responsibilities in informing the appropriate supervisor when they are reasonably aware that domestic violence may occur in the workplace. b) Responsibility The joint responsibility for creating and maintaining a workplace environment in which employees are protected from domestic violence that may expose employees to physical injury in the workplace rests with all employees sharing the workplace. c) Informing i) Employees have a duty to report hazards to their supervisor. Section 28 (1) d of the OHSA reads that, A worker shall report to his or her employer or supervisor.the existence of any hazard of which he or she knows. Employees who have information that they, or a fellow employee is subject to domestic violence that may expose them or their fellow employees to physical injury in the workplace have a responsibility to inform their supervisor, except where the supervisor may be party to the domestic violence, in which case the employee shall inform the Superintendent of Human Resources or designate. All reports of suspected domestic violence should be directed to the appropriate supervisor in writing. ii) The supervisor will treat all such reports in confidence, and only disclose to Human Resources Support Services or others who need to know, information that is necessary for the protection of employees in the workplace. d) Fact-finding i) Supervisors who are informed that there is an employee who may be subject to domestic violence in the workplace must gauge the nature and extent of the threat. This may require the supervisor to interview both the source of the information about the threat, and the employee(s) who may be subject to the risk of domestic violence in the workplace. It may also require more detailed investigations conducted by the Superintendent of Human Resources or designate. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to make this contact. ii) The supervisor may request from the employee reasonable documentation in the circumstances to assess the risks and to put in place precautions to protect the employee. Such documentation may include a copy of a court order, police report or photograph of the alleged perpetrator. The Health and safety officer will assist the site supervisor in developing safety plans for high risk situations. iii) HPEDSB will make available to all employees information about supports available for victims of domestic violence. Such supports may include the Employee Assistance Program, community counselling, support groups, shelters, and the police. When possible, supervisors will remind potential victims of domestic violence in the workplace of these resources. iv) In all circumstances, a supervisor must tell the victim that if they feel at risk of physical harm whether inside or outside the workplace or at home, the employee should contact the police. e) Actions i) If the threat of domestic violence is from a co-worker, the supervisor, under advice from Human Resources Support Services, must take steps to ensure the victim and other employees are protected. Such steps may include, but are not limited to, warnings, employee transfers and informing police. Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Page 4 of 6

5 ii) If the threat of domestic violence is from someone outside of the workplace, the supervisor, under advice from Human Resources Support Services, must take steps to ensure the victim and other employees are protected. Such steps may include, but are not limited to, warnings, employee transfers and informing police. 8) SUMMONING IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE a) This procedure includes measures for summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur [OHSA section (2)b]. b) Depending on the nature, location and level of risk, this includes summoning assistance from the site supervisor or emergency response team as well as community assistance through 911. It is important to consider the employee s location (onsite or offsite) and time of day (working during or outside of regular hours) when determining the most effective method of communication, eg. P.A. system, telephone, cell phone, walkie-talkie, text message, etc. c) Each supervisor should review appropriate methods of summoning immediate assistance with employees. 9) RIGHT TO REFUSE OR STOP WORK WHERE HEALTH OR SAFETY IN DANGER Under the OHSA, an employee can refuse if he or she has reason to believe he or she may be endangered by violence in the workplace [OHSA Section 43(3) 6.1]. Procedure 420: Occupational Health and Safety outlines the procedures related to the right to refuse or stop work where health or safety is in danger. 10) REPORTING INCIDENTS OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE a) It is the responsibility of all employees to report the existence of any hazards the employees knows of to their supervisor [OHSA Section 28(1)(d)]. b) When reporting incidents of workplace violence, employees are to use Form 421-1: Employee Accident/Violent Incident Reporting Form and submit this form to the appropriate supervisor within 24 hours of the incident. c) Supervisors are to complete Form 421-2: Supervisor Accident/Violent Incident Investigation Report and forward it with the initial Form to Human Resources Support Services. d) The health and safety officer will determine in consultation with the school superintendent and other superintendents as appropriate: i) how and when investigations will be completed; ii) what will be included in the investigation; and iii) follow-up to the investigation. e) Follow up to investigations may include recommendations for measures and procedures to control the risks of workplace violence. Examples include: i) safe work procedures; ii) student safety plan; iii) personal protective equipment; iv) design or physical layout of the workplace such as doors with clear windows, adequate lighting, location and structure of counters, barriers, etc.; v) designated safe locations for emergency situations; vi) procedures for informing or advising employees of potentially violent situations or people; and; vii) employee training on the workplace violence policy and program and dealing with aggressive or violent clients. Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Page 5 of 6

6 11) ROLE OF THE JHSC a) The OHSA outlines the legal requirements for the establishment of the JHSC and the powers of the Committee. The Guidelines for the Structure of the Function of the Hastings and Prince Edward Joint Health and Safety Committee outlines how the JHSC will operate. The Ministry of Labour continues to put emphasis on the Internal Responsibility System and encourage the workplace parties to work together to solve concerns internally. b) New duties of the JHSC as a result of Bill 168 include: i) the employer must advise the JHSC of risk assessment results [OHSA Section (3)a.] ii) incidents involving workplace violence where an employee is disabled or requires medical attention must be reported to the JHSC within four days of the incident [OHSA Section 52]. iii) The health and safety officer may bring updates to the JHSC regarding violent incidents in the workplace and threat assessments. This information will not include names or other personal information in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. c) There is no requirement to alert the JHSC to incidents of workplace harassment. Legal References: Occupational Health and Safety Act, as amended by Bill 168, July, 2011 Education Act, sections 283, CEO; 264, Duties of a Teacher; 265, Duties of a Principal Criminal Code of Canada District References: Board Policy No. 1: Board Mission and Goals Administrative Procedure 135: Equity and Inclusivity Education Administrative Procedure 145: District Code of Conduct and School Codes of Conduct Administrative Procedure 147: Technology Use Administrative Procedure 149: Safety and Well-Being of Students and Staff Administrative Procedure 153: Emergency Response Administrative Procedure 162: Treatment of Injured or Ill Students and Staff Members Administrative Procedure 164: Management of Communicable and Infectious Disease Administrative Procedure 166: Tragic Events Administrative Procedure 225: Character Development Administrative Procedure 379: Behaviour Management/Safety Plan Administrative Procedure 382: Administration of Physical Restraint Administrative Procedure 385: Community Threat Assessment Administrative Procedure 393: Police Protocol Administrative Procedure 405: Personnel Principles General Administrative Procedure 420: Occupational Health and Safety Administrative Procedure 420-E: Personal Protective Equipment Administrative Procedure 422: Safe Workplace Workplace Harassment Administrative Procedure 460: Reporting Teacher Professional Misconduct Form 421-1: Employee Accident/Violent Incident Reporting Form 421-2: Supervisor s Accident/Violent Incident Investigation Report Supporting References: Workplace Violence and Harassment: Understanding the Law, Ministry of Labour, March 2010 Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Page 6 of 6

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