‘These new regulations will help workplaces strengthen their occupational health and safety programs’
Changes to Newfoundland and Labrador’s occupational health and safety regulations that include provisions addressing workplace harassment and violence took effect Jan. 1.
With the changes, “violence” is defined as the attempted or actual exercise of physical force to cause injury to a worker, including threatening statements or behaviour that gives a co-worker reason to believe that they are at risk of injury.
“Workplace harassment” is defined as inappropriate vexatious conduct or comment by a person to a worker that the person knew or ought to have known would cause the worker to be humiliated, offended or intimidated.
The changes also require employers to conduct a risk assessment that includes the consideration of issues raised by the health and safety committee, the worker health and safety representative or the workplace health and safety designate. Personal information obtained by the employer while conducting a risk assessment are not to be disclosed unless required by law.
“Everyone has the right to work in an environment free from violence and harassment. Supportive workplaces are essential in the creation of a province that is fully free of violence and harassment,” said Carol Anne Haley, minister responsible for the status of women.
How to prevent workplace harassment
Employers must also develop, implement and maintain a written harassment prevention plan in consultation with the occupational health and safety committee or representative, and investigate complaints of workplace harassment.
Business leaders must also participate in training relating to harassment prevention and provide their workers with such training.
“These new regulations will help workplaces strengthen their occupational health and safety programs to better protect workers from violence and harassment,” said CEO of WorkplaceNL Dennis Hogan.