If your workplace has not yet performed an assessment for violence, how can you create a Violence Protection Program?
What if your workplace is in a high crime area where gun shots are heard on a daily basis, or where two workers have been brawling in the alley. Would the program you develop to protect workers be the same as if your workplace was in a safe, residential area and workers were all were best friends?
Every workplace is different. A drug store with it’s high risk of opiate theft, is vastly different from a woman’s clothing store next door and requires a different approach to safety. The doggie daycare in a trendy neighbourhood open 6am to 6pm needs a different policy and program than a convenience store in the same neighbourhood open 24 hours.
An assessment needs to take into account the type of workplace, the nature of the workplace, and the type or conditions of work . The employer is responsible to assess the risks of violence to their workers based upon these factors.
The employer should look at other workplaces that perform similar work. Health Care employers can look at statistics for other operations in their sector; whether home care, hospital, clinic, or in a forensic health care unit. The employer can research what others are doing, what equipment they are using or tools they have to implement their programs. Networking with others in your sector can prove invaluable. Asking workers, or the health and safety committee members or worker representative for their input is invaluable for information the employer may not be aware of.
Likewise, owners of service stations, auto body shops or manufacturing companies can look at other businesses to see what programs they have in place: check with them to see the types of policies and programs they have to prevent violence and/or theft that often leads to violence.
Once the assessment has been completed, the employer must advise the joint health and safety committee, or their worker representative of the results of the assessment and provide a copy, if the assessment is in writing. Where there is no committee or worker representative, workers must be advised of the results of the assessment. A copy should be provided to workers if it’s in writing, or workers must be told how to get a copy.
As with all policies, the workplace violence policy must be reviewed at least annually, and more often if necessary. The same is true for the violence assessment. If there has been a violent episode in the workplace and the assessment didn’t see it coming, it’s time to review and update the assessment and workplace violence program.
My next blog will deal with one way to perform an assessment for violence in the workplace..
If you want further assistance regarding violence in the workplace contact Gloria via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org