VWP Course page 1 | Industrial & Construction Safety Solutions



Workplace Violence Awareness


Psychological Harassment:

“…means any vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions, or gestures, that affects an employee’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity and results in a harmful work environment…” - Bill 143, 2002

Workplace Violence

  • Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened, or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work. 
  • These behaviours would originated from customers, coworkers at any level of the organization
  • This definition would include all forms of harassment, bullying, intimidation, physical threats/assaults, robbery and other intrusive behaviours

In Canada

  • Women have 19% higher rate of physical or psychological assaults than the US
  • Stats Can 12000 women 51% attacked
  • CUPE 1994 70% reported verbal aggression, 40% struck, 30% grabbed
  • Sexual Harassment fastest growing complaint since 1991 (Ont. Human Rights Commission)
  • Wage-Loss claims by hospital workers due to violence increased 88% since 1985 (BC Comp Board)

Canadian Initiative Preliminary Findings

  • Violence has increased (66%)
  • Physical violence reported from outside, whereas psychological form within
  • 78% have taken concrete steps to act
  • 53% suggest not enough being done
  • 91% believe Canada different than US but moving in that direction

Responsibility & The Law

Common Law Liability

  • Liability of the employer for the acts of its employees
  • Liability of the employer for its own acts

Statutory Liability

Occupier’s Liability Act

  • People who are in control over land must ensure that their premises are safe for persons who may be reasonably expected to enter
  • There are a number of security steps that can mitigate the risk, like lighting, intercom, alarm systems, electronic access, id tags, single reception, etc.

Occupational Health & Safety Act

  • Employers have a responsibility to take reasonable care to provide employees with a safe workplace
  • Some provinces have made specific reference to violence
  • Individuals can refuse “unsafe” work
  • Now Ontario Bill 168

Human Rights Code

  • 11 grounds under the code
  • An employer may be liable for harassment of workers where it knew or ought to have reasonably known that harassment was taking place and failed to take reasonable action to prevent it

The Criminal Code of Canada

  • Trespassing at Night (Sec 177)
  • Offensive Volatile Substance (Sec 178)
  • Criminal Harassment (Sec 264)
  • Uttering Threats (Sec 264.1)
  • Extortion (Sec 364)
  • False Messages (Sec 372)
  • Intimidation (Sec 423)

Road Map to Prevention


Road Map To Prevention Picture


(Note to Designer: Would be amazing if we could click around the image and bring them to a pop up bubble about that section)

Prevention Policy

  • Every organization should have a workplace violence prevention policy developed by management and employees
  • This document will be the foundation of your violence prevention program

Risk Assessment

  • To effectively prevent workplace violence you need to have a general understanding of workplace violence risk factors
  • Your risk assessment should build on this general understanding and include input from both management and employees

Developing Preventative Measures

  • The next step is to develop specific measures to eliminate or minimize these risks
  • Preventative measures include training and education as well as improvements to your workplace design, administrative practices and work practices

Reporting & Investigating

  • Workplace violence is frequently under reported
  • Every workplace should have a clearly defined system set up for the reporting, recording and investigating incidents or possible incidents of violence

Emergency Response Planning

  • From both an individual and organizational perspective, it is essential that you have a specific plan that clearly outlines how to respond to a serious incident before it happens
  • The plan should be comprehensive enough to deal with most incidents, but easy enough to understand and remember

Victim Assistance

  • In the aftermath of an incident of workplace violence, traumatized individuals may require emotional and medical support

Incident Follow-Up

  • Incident follow-up is part of your ongoing effort to assess risk and improve prevention and response strategies

Program Review

  • Continuous program review should not be overlooked
  • Routine program review is critically important for meeting organizational and individual employee needs
  • Ensure that your program is current and responsive is a testament to your commitment for a safe workplace


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