Why is reviewing your workplace violence and harassment program a best practice? Because both your workplace and the world around us are always changing, and those changes impact your program’s effectiveness. Rapid change is a way of life for businesses to survive, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And as fast as your work evolves, so too must the policies and programs you have in place to keep people safe. It’s not just what’s happening in the workplace that impacts your program, either. For example, addictions, domestic abuse, and homelessness are becoming more pervasive in our society. Your program may need to be revised to add additional controls to ensure your workforce is protected.
Why Regular Review Matters
At BEST Safety Training and Consulting, we understand that even the best programs might lose effectiveness or need adjusting later. It’s normal. In fact, many programs are the result of trying things to determine what works and what doesn’t. Without regular review, your program is at risk for
- Becoming ineffective
- Not evolving with your organization
- Creating unintended hazards or problems
- Missing out on addressing new risks or hazards
- Becoming non-compliant
What are Unintended Hazards?
An unintended hazard or consequence occurs when a policy is enacted that addresses a specific issue, and the solution creates a new problem or hazard. Let’s look at an example:
An employer puts a policy in place that the shift supervisor of a 24-hour coffee shop must make a bank deposit anytime the safe reaches over $1000.00. What are the consequences?
- Although the evening supervisor always makes a deposit when her shift ends at 7:00 pm, the safe regularly reaches more than $1000 again overnight
- The night supervisor must walk three blocks to the bank in the dark, in the middle of the night with $1000.00 cash on her
- While she does this, her shift partner is alone in the shop
When the employer wrote the policy, they never considered that the night shift would make more than $1000. Now, the policy meant to increase safety has created an unintended hazard. Your review is the time to address issues like these.
What else needs to be reviewed? Sometimes, you need to look a little deeper:
- Really examine your workplace policies and practices to identify unintentional barriers to certain groups
- Look around your boardroom and be honest about whether it’s time to diversify
- Ask yourself if behaviours that are not acceptable have somehow become commonplace
- And of course, review the policies and procedures to ensure that they’re still relevant, working, and compliant.
If you still need to be sold on why reviewing the workplace violence and harassment program is necessary, how about this? It’s a legal requirement under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act).
Section 32.0.1(1)9(c) of the Act states: “review the policies as often as is necessary, but at least annually.”
When conducting a review, be sure to look at the overall program, including the policy, procedures, and all other program elements. As you go through it, keep this primary objective in mind: Does this element do what it’s intended to do?
Forms, paperwork, and policies all need to function as intended. If you aren’t sure they do, it may be time to bring in a consultant to help you identify deficiencies and make improvements.
Make a Commitment
Commit to regularly reviewing your Workplace Violence and Harassment Program (and your Safety program!) as part of your work process. Add a recurring appointment to your calendar today and block the time you need. After all, this is important (and legally required) work. Performing regular reviews will ensure that your policy is always as effective as possible and that it’s meeting the primary objective: to protect everyone from the risks associated with workplace violence and harassment.
Not Sure Where to Start? BEST Safety Training Can Help
Download this FREE Workplace Violence and Harassment Program Review Calendar, courtesy of BEST Safety Training and Consulting.
Like the calendar? Add your email to our mailing list to get one FREE, straight to your inbox, every month. Each month features a new topic, all designed to keep your workplace safe, healthy, and compliant.