The possibility of violence in the workplace is an unfortunate reality. Employers and workers must work together to prevent it.
Section 3-21 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act outlines the employer's responsibility for developing and implementing written policy statement and prevention plan to deal with violence in the workplace. Workers must be consulted in the development of the violence policy statement and in the implementation of the written violence policy statement and prevention plan.
Violence is the attempted, threatened or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause an injury. This includes any threatening statement or behaviour that gives a worker reasonable cause to believe the worker is at the risk of an injury.
Which employers are required to have a policy statement on violence and prevention plan?
Written policy statements and prevention plans are recommended for all employers, however The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020 make it a mandatory requirement in these industries:
- services provided by health care facilities;
- pharmaceutical-dispensing services;
- education services;
- police services;
- corrections services;
- other law enforcement services;
- security services;
- crisis counseling and intervention services;
- late night retail premises as defined in the regulations;
- financial services;
- the sale of alcoholic beverages or the provision of premises for the consumption of alcoholic beverages;
- taxi services; and
- transit services.
What needs to be included in a policy statement on violence and prevention plan?
The policy statement on violence and prevention plan must include:
- the employer's commitment to minimize and eliminate risk and review and update the plan every three years;
- identification of the worksite(s) where violent situations have occurred or may occur;
- identification of staff positions that have or could be exposed to violent situations;
- The procedures to inform workers about the nature and risk of violence at their place of employment, and any information the employer has about persons who have a history of violent behaviour who could become a risk to the workers;
- the actions an employer will take to minimize and eliminate the risk of violence including:
- providing personal protective equipment;
- establishing administrative arrangements; and
- engineering controls (e.g., surveillance cameras).
- the procedures for reporting a violent incident to the employer;
- the procedures the employer will follow to investigate violent incidents;
- a recommendation that workers who have been exposed to violent incidents consult a physician for treatment or obtain a referral for counseling; and
- a commitment to provide a training program for workers that includes information about:
- how to recognize potentially violent situations,
- procedures, work practices, administrative arrangements and engineering controls that have been developed for their protection;
- how to respond to violent incidents and obtain assistance;
- procedures for reporting violent incidents.
When preparing a violence policy statement and prevention plan, employers are required to consult and cooperate with the occupational health committee, occupational health and safety representative, or where there is no committee or representative, the workers.
The violence policy statement and prevention plan MUST be in writing and readily available to all employees. Readily available means that the employer must be able to produce the information at the time it is requested by a worker or an occupational health and safety officer. Records can be stored electronically as long as employees can access a computer when they need the information.
Refer to section 3-26 and 3-27 of The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020 to learn more about the regulatory requirements for a violence policy statement and prevention plan.