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Friday, March 19, 2010

Workplace Violence: What you gotta know!

Hello to all my Ontario friends!

Just a question - how much of a problem has violence, or bullying, been in your workplace(s) during your career?

The reason I ask is that as of June 15, 2010 Bill 168 is going to introduce some amendments to the OHSA you need to be aware of.

Personally, everywhere I have worked has had some degree of 'teasing' and I would be the first to say that I think it is good to be able to have fun with your co-workers, but never to the point that someone would feel 'victimized' by another's actions.

Based on the amendments, harassment is defined as:

Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

Workplace harassment may include bullying, teasing, intimidating or offensive jokes or innuendos, displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials, or offensive or intimidating phone calls.

What do I need to do?

Employers must:

  • Prepare policies with respect to workplace violence and workplace harassment,
  • Develop and maintain programs to implement their policies, and;
  • Provide information and instruction to workers on the contents of these policies and programs.
Workplace violence programs must include measures and procedures for:

  • Summoning immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur, and;
  • Controlling risks identified in the assessment of risks.

This new bill aside, has there been any history of violence in your workplaces?

Do you think this new bill is necessary, or something else HR is gonna have to train on?


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