Nearly one year ago Bill 168, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to violence and harassment in the workplace officially came into force. These amendments placed significant duties on employers relating to workplace violence and harassment.
Chief among the employer obligations is the requirement to develop and implement workplace violence and harassment policies and program(s). To this end the employer must also provide all workers with information and instruction on the content of the workplace policies and the hazard control measures and other procedures outlined in the programs designed to implement the policies. Bill 168 also added the requirement for employers to introduce measures to address domestic violence as a potential source of workplace violence.
Unsure if your workplace is in compliance with Bill 168?
Many still aren’t. This places workers at risk as well as possible repercussions for employers. Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors undertook a compliance blitz between May 1, 2010 and August 31, 2010, focusing on workplaces that employ new and young workers. According to the MOL, violence and harassment prevention efforts mandated by the Act accounted for 15 per cent of the non-compliance orders written for industrial workplaces and 14 per cent for health care facilities.
The Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) can help.
The WHSC offers handy compliance checklists for both employers and workers. The WHSC also offers a three-hour Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention training program designed to help prepare workplaces to better understand workplace violence and harassment and to fully comply with the workplace prevention obligations required under the Act.
The WHSC has also published fact sheets on Workplace Violence and Domestic Violence as it relates to the workplace. Workplace Violence: predictable and preventable has been updated to reflect Ontario's Bill 168. Domestic Violence in the Workplace: breaking the silence outlines how domestic violence can become a workplace issue and highlights the responsibilities legally required of employers who are “aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that domestic violence that would likely expose a worker to physical injury may occur in the workplace."
Want to read the WHSC’s Resource Lines?
- Workplace Violence: predictable and preventable
- Domestic Violence in the Workplace: breaking the silence
Want to read the WHSC’s Violence and Harassment Compliance Checklists?
Want to read the Ministry of Labour’s guidelines for workplace violence and harassment legislation?
Want to know more about the WHSC’s Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Training — call 1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a training service representative or contact a WHSC near you?