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The potential for violence exists whenever there is direct interaction between workers and non-workers. Employers must provide a workplace as safe from the threat of violence as possible. If there is a risk of violence in a workplace, the employer must set up and instruct workers on procedures to eliminate or minimize the risks.

The risks

The first step in preventing workplace violence is conducting a risk assessment. If the assessment shows that there is a risk of violence, the employer must develop and implement a workplace violence prevention program.

When assessing the risk of violence, take the following into account:

  • The location, nature, and circumstances of the work you are engaged in
  • The number and nature of previous incidents of violence at the workplace over a period of at least one year
  • Experiences at similar workplaces

How to reduce the risks

A workplace violence prevention program should be part of your overall health and safety program. It should be developed and implemented in co-operation with the joint health and safety committee or worker health and safety representative. The nature and extent of the program should be based on the results of the risk assessment.

A violence prevention program should include the following components:

  • Written policy to eliminate or minimize risk
  • Regular risk assessments
  • Prevention procedures
  • Worker and supervisor training
  • Procedures for reporting and investigating incidents
  • Incident follow-up
  • Program review

For more information, see Take Care: How to Develop and Implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Program, which covers the following:

  • Legal requirements related to violence in the workplace
  • Conducting a risk assessment
  • Developing a violence prevention program
  • Procedures for preventing violence in the workplace
  • Sample documents