Posted June 15, 2010
In an effort to protect workers from workplace harassment and potentially violent situations, the province of Ontario has enacted changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that go into effect today, Tuesday, June 15th, 2010.
These amendments require employers to:
- Develop and communicate their own workplace violence and harassment prevention policies and programs for the benefit of their workers;
- Assess the risks of workplace violence and take such reasonable precautions as are necessary to protect workers from possible domestic violence in the workplace;
- Allow workers to remove themselves from harmful situations if they have reason to believe that they are at risk of imminent danger due to workplace danger or violence.
Employers are required to develop policies tailored to their respective businesses and workplaces and to post these in conspicuous places easily accessible to all employees.
But what is important about these changes is the call for employers to dialogue with their employees about concerns that go beyond the normal issues that arise in discussions about workplace wellbeing. Without question, workplaces are meant to be safe environments for all. Now, it is necessary for employers and employees to be vigilant and prevent harmful situations from escalating regardless of the cause. And employees can report incidents or potential harmful situations freely without fear from reprisal.
The impetus for these legislative changes arose directly as a result of the tragic death of Nurse Lori Dupont here in Windsor, Ontario.
To find out more about what you need to see in your workplace or how I can assist you with your own workplace policies, please contact my office.