Written by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Article from the OH&S Canada magazine – (Nov. 2021)
“Assessing the risks in your workplace”
Creating an environment where employees feel safe to discuss and come forward about harassment and violence starts with an assessment of existing hazards.
Some important factors to consider include the nature of work being done, your workplace design and layout, and administrative and work practices.
How are these affected by internal factors such as your culture, conditions, activities, and organizational structure? Think about the influence of external factors such as location, clients, customers, and family violence.
Consider how the mental health of your workplace and harassment and violence may be connected.
- Do you have measures in place to protect the psychological health and safety of your employees?
- Are workers able to control their workload and flag when it is excessive?
- Are they regularly faced with tight deadlines or having to work long hours?
Stress and feeling a lack of control over their circumstances can make workers more susceptible to bullying behaviour or committing acts of violence. Psychological safety playa an important role in prevention, as does talking to the perpetrator about what prompted their behaviour when incidents occur.
Your most valuable source of knowledge are your employees and your company history.
Ask employees about their experiences and whether they are concerned for themselves or others. Review any past incidents of violence by checking incident reports, first aid records, and health and safety committee records.
Determine the risk factors your workplace has related to harassment and violence, and evaluate the history of these events in similar places of employment.
Seek out information from any partner organizations, such as your industry association, workers’ compensation board, occupational health and safety regulators or your union office.
Once you have collected as much information as you can, look for trends and identify the situations and locations that you believe are most at risk. Record the results of your assessment, and use them to develop a prevention program.
Keep in mind that an employee may also be the perpetrator of family violence. Having a confidential reporting mechanism is critical. Workers should be made aware of how to submit concerns on their own behalf, or if they feel an intervention may be required for a co-worker.
Training for management should also focus on ways to address and support employees in these situations.
Part #4 of 4 should be delivered over the next few days.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.