Violence & Harassment

Violence and HarassmentWhat is workplace violence and harassment?

Workplace violence is defined as

  • the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker,
  • an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker, or
  • a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker

Workplace harassment is defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 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."

What the law says

The OHSA protects workers by setting specific duties and requirements for provincially regulated employers (Section 32.0.1 to 32.0.7). For example, such employers must assess the risks of workplace violence in their particular workplaces and develop ways to control the risks. They must also have a policy to prevent workplace violence and harassment and programs that implement the policy. The OHSA describes these and other requirements in detail.

How workplace violence or harassment can affect your business

The threat of workplace violence or harassment poisons the work environment. It sabotages productivity and undermines a company's culture. It hurts a business financially because of the costs of violence-related injuries, government fines, disrupted work and decreased productivity. It affects the employer's relationship with its employees and it can damage the company’s reputation with clients as well as its employee retention and recruitment efforts.

What can you do?

  • Prepare policies on preventing workplace violence and harassment.
  • Develop and maintain programs to implement the policies
  • Assess the risks of workplace violence based on the nature of the workplace and type of work.
  • Develop measures and procedures to control the risks
  • If you're aware of the potential for domestic violence, take reasonable precautions to protect workers who are at risk of physical injury
  • Alert certain workers to the risk of workplace violence from persons with a history of violent behaviour

Downloads

Employee Violence Risk Assessment Questionnaire

Employee Violence Risk Assessment Questionnaire

A questionnaire employers can provide to workers to help assess violence risk. Employers are encouraged to use, reproduce, or customize this document / template to meet their health and safety requirements.
140 KB pdf
OHSCO Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs: A Toolbox

OHSCO Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs: A Toolbox

This toolbox supports "Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs: What Employers Need to Know".  It contains information, tools and assessments that can be useful to employers as they develop a workplace violence policy and program, a workplace harassment policy and program, or a domestic violence program.
1392 KB pdf
OHSCO Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs: What Employers Need to Know

OHSCO Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs: What Employers Need to Know

This document and the accompanying toolbox have been developed to help Ontario employers meet the Occupational Health and Safety Act's requirements.  The documents outline recommended approaches to assessing the risks of workplace violence, and contain important information on recognizing the signs of domestic violence and protesting workers should it occur in the workplace.
910 KB pdf
Safety Check: Robbery Prevention Safety

Safety Check: Robbery Prevention Safety

Robbery prevention safety tips for workers.
457 KB PDF
Workplace Hazards Inspection Form (Workplace Violence)

Workplace Hazards Inspection Form (Workplace Violence)

This form will help you identify potential hazards in your workplace as they relate to the security of your employees and visitors.
356 KB pdf

Consulting Services

Consulting Services Awareness Sessions

Consulting Services Awareness Sessions

Awareness sessions are presentations of up to 2 hours in length delivered at your workplace by WSPS consultants. They are designed to help meet your legal duty to provide information about workplace hazards to employees.


General Consulting Services

General Consulting Services

Integrating health and safety into your workplace is good business.  WSPS’ consultants employ a results-based approach to health, safety and environment, focused on building self-reliance,  and enabling your organization to implement, manage and continually improve your health and safety programs.

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS Safety Group

WSPS is the largest Safety Group provider and one of the longest running sponsors in the province. With our extensive experience and proven track record, by working with us and other member firms participating firms can achieve better results, and qualify for WSIB rebates.

E-Courses

(ON) Developing Your Workplace Violence and Harassment Program in Ontario (2 hours)

(ON) Developing Your Workplace Violence and Harassment Program in Ontario (2 hours)

Learn how to comply with the requirements of OHSA regarding workplace violence & harassment.
View Details 
$109.00

Respect in the Workplace (90 minutes)

Respect in the Workplace (90 minutes)

NEW! Recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination (BAHD).
View Details 
$36.00

Violence in the Workplace: Awareness

Violence in the Workplace: Awareness

Workplace violence is a serious issue that affects all business sectors and occupations and the safety and security of every employee and employer. This course is offered FREE of charge by CCOHS to promote the awareness of this very important issue, and as a precursor to the other Workplace Violence e-courses: Recognize the Risk and Take Action, and Establish a Prevention Program.
View Details 
$0.00

Violence in the Workplace: Establish a Prevention Program (English) (1.5 hours)

Violence in the Workplace: Establish a Prevention Program (English) (1.5 hours)

This course introduces managers, supervisors and employees to the key components of an effective workplace violence prevention program.
View Details 
$64.00

Violence in the Workplace: Establish a Prevention Program (French) (1.5 hours)

Violence in the Workplace: Establish a Prevention Program (French) (1.5 hours)

This course introduces managers, supervisors and employees to the key components of an effective workplace violence prevention program.
View Details 
$64.00

Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action (English) (1 hour)

Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action (English) (1 hour)

This course helps frontline supervisors, workers and anyone else with an interest in workplace safety develop a clear understanding of what workplace violence is, the consequences of workplace violence and preventive measures that can be taken.
View Details 
$49.00

Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action (French) (1 hour)

Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action (French) (1 hour)

This course helps frontline supervisors, workers and anyone else with an interest in workplace safety develop a clear understanding of what workplace violence is, the consequences of workplace violence and preventive measures that can be taken.
View Details 
$49.00

Webinars

Are You Ready for the MOL Manufacturing Blitz?

Are You Ready for the MOL Manufacturing Blitz?

This webinar will be of interest to all firms in the industrial sector, that have key hazards associated with manufacturing processes, including guarding and lockout, workplace violence, MSDs, occupational disease (noise and chemical exposure), as well as those that are looking to strengthen their internal responsibility system.
View Details 
$0.00

Articles

8 steps to help you implement new workplace harassment requirements

8 steps to help you implement new workplace harassment requirements

Workplace harassment can have debilitating consequences for victims, their co-workers, and the business. "If there's even an inkling of this behaviour in the workplace, the situation needs to be addressed immediately," says WSPS consultant Charmaine Mitchell. "If workers don't feel safe, it can have widespread repercussions on employee well-being and organizational productivity."

Sep 08, 2016
6 steps to take before Bill 132 comes into force on September 8

6 steps to take before Bill 132 comes into force on September 8

"Don't wait for September. Start preparing your workplace and your workforce now for Bill 132, Ontario's new sexual violence and harassment legislation, before it becomes enforceable," advises WSPS consultant Paul Hartford.

Jun 07, 2016
Precedent-setting fine emphasizes need for sexual harassment policies

Precedent-setting fine emphasizes need for sexual harassment policies

A $200,000 fine for an employer who sexually harassed workers holds important lessons about organizational culture, vulnerable workers, and sexual harassment programs. WSPS consultant Margaret Cernigoj offers timely advice in the wake of this case and in light of Ontario's action plan to curb sexual harassment.

Jul 14, 2015
How to protect your people, your business, and your brand from unhealthy behaviour

How to protect your people, your business, and your brand from unhealthy behaviour

Media reports of disturbing behaviour on Parliament Hill and at CBC have created an impression of systemic problems at these two organizations: individuals who abuse their position, people who are reluctant to voice complaints for fear of reprisal, lack of management support, and an absence of policies and procedures.
Feb 09, 2015
More workers feeling bullied, study finds

More workers feeling bullied, study finds

An online survey of 4,000 full-time U.S. workers reports an increase in bullying compared to a similar survey conducted last year.
Oct 18, 2012
Protecting workers from domestic violence – the #2 cause of workplace fatalities among U.S. women

Protecting workers from domestic violence – the #2 cause of workplace fatalities among U.S. women

While U.S. workplace fatalities have fallen 27% since 1992, workplace homicides among women increased 13% in 2010 alone, say researchers from NIOSH and West Virginia University. "Personal relations" came in a close second to "criminal intent" as the most prevalent type of homicide. This research reinforces the critical role of workplaces in protecting women from violence, including domestic violence at work. Learn more about the study results, challenges facing employers, and available solutions.
Jul 24, 2012
Workplace violence: anticipating bear repellant and other hazards

Workplace violence: anticipating bear repellant and other hazards

Recently, a would-be thief assaulted the owner of a computer store in St. Catharines with bear repellant, a form of pepper spray. An accomplice also punched an employee in the head as the thieves were escaping with store merchandise. Police eventually arrested two people, but in the interim the store owner and two employees sustained minor injuries from the spray and required treatment for eye and skin irritations.
Apr 02, 2012