Resources to prevent violence at work

I read an article in the November/December 2011 issue of WorkSafe Magazine about a new online tool for preventing workplace violence.

From WorkSafe Magazine Nov/Dec 2011

From WorkSafe Magazine Nov/Dec 2011

Employers sign up and their workers answer questions online about their specific workplace. The program evaluates each survey and compiles a list of potential violence-related risks.

“Once the risks have been identified, the e-tool brings up articles related to prevention strategies from the knowledge base… culled from hundreds of policy and procedure documents from reputable agencies…” reads the WorkSafeBC article by Gail Johnson.

The online program is the result of joint efforts from the BC Public Service Agency, the BC Government and Service Employers Union, and the University of BC – funded by WorkSafeBC.

A tale of avoiding violence

Health care workers are often faced with aggressive behaviour from clients – many of whom are angry, scared, or frustrated with their situation. WorkSafeBC says violence is a leading cause of injury to B.C. care workers and results in more than 1000 injuries each year.

Downtown Eastside hotel. Photo credit: roaming-the-planet on Flickr

Downtown Eastside hotel. Photo credit: roaming-the-planet on Flickr

I talked with a community health nurse recently about some of the threats he’s faced from clients he visits in shelters and hotels in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He said violence is threatened, but actual incidents are rare. I followed up with a contact at WorkSafeBC who confirmed there was no significant number of violence-related claims among community health nurses.

Once the nurse went to a hotel to see a man with a suspected leg infection. He introduced himself and asked if he could have a look.

“I thought I heard him say ‘yeah’ or shake his head, but apparently he’s partially deaf and he hadn’t heard me at all,” he said.

“I went down to lift up his pant leg, and he turned at me and raised his hand as if to hit me, and so of course I backed out of that situation and explained that I was a nurse – there to look at his wounds. He told me he did not want me to look at his wounds and so I left.”

Thankfully the threat of violence was averted, and a female nurse went back later and treated the man. There are many tactics for cooling the flames, depending on the industry and the situation, and the new online program brings many of them to industry. Kudos to the collaborators!

New violence prevention resources online

WorkSafeBC offers information on Violence for workers and employers, including videos, e-publications, and links to violence-related info in the Regulation.


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