And Now you Know…Part 1 Health and Safety Reporting

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Accident Injuries and Unsafe Working Conditions must be reported immediately to your supervisor.

 

First Day on September 3rd should be spent reviewing Behaviour and Safety Plans and updating your Supply Folders (please include the information necessary. Please click on the links directly below to review what is required by the Board.

Communication with Occasional staff AP-AD-44 Communication with Occasional Staff AP-AD-44-Appendices

All Health and Safety Matters including Workplace Violence must be reported to your principal and/or vice principal.

This is something you must do to ensure that your principal takes measures to correct the concern raised. This can be done verbally to your admin, however OSSTF-ESS recommends that members also follow up in writing to your principal with a copy to your Workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee.

This page is intended to provide general guidance to OSSTF-ESS members.  For support with specific issues, please contact the Martha Hradowy or Tracey Roddy at 519-948-7570

Special Education or identified students are NOT EXEMPT from these reporting requirements.  Educational Support Staff are legally obligated to complete the Workplace Violence Reporting Form (Appendix A) to report incidents involving any student.

What is Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence is defined as any of the following:

  • the exercise of physical force against a worker, that causes or could cause physical injury (for example a bite, scratch, hit, kick, push, hit with an object, hair pulling)
  • the attempt to exercise physical force that could cause physical injury (for example, someone throws an object at you that could hurt you, but you are able to move out of the way it time)
  • a statement or behaviour that a worker could reasonably interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, that could cause physical injury to the worker

Does the person need to intend to hurt the worker for an incident to be considered workplace violence?

No.  The ability to make reasonable judgement prior to acting is not a factor in the definition of workplace violence.

The Ministry of Labour has this to say on the issue:

“For workplace violence to occur, a person must apply or attempt to apply physical force against a worker. However, he or she does not need to have the capacity to appreciate these actions could cause physical harm. For example, a person may have a medical condition that causes them to act out physically in response to a stimulus in their environment. This would still be considered workplace violence.

In addition, workplace violence would include situations where two non-workers, students for example, are fighting and a worker could be injured when they intervene. The non-workers may not have intended their violence to spill over to anyone else, but they used physical force, which could ultimately cause physical injury to a worker.

Employers would be expected to take these situations into account when assessing the risks of workplace violence and when dealing with incidents. They would be required to establish measures and procedures to protect workers from this type of behaviour.”

Of course, accidental situations – such as someone tripping and as a result pushing a worker – are not meant to be included.

What forms do I need to complete?

After the violent incident is over and you are safe, it is important that you report the incident.  You will need to fill out at least 2 forms, possibly 3.

Appendix A – Workplace Violence Reporting Form

If you are injured you must fill in the Accident/Injury Report form and immediately report the injury to your administrator

Employee Accident Injury Report Form

The Importance of Reporting – It’s Not Optional

Reporting workplace violence is required by law.  The Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) requires that workers must report to their supervisors “the existence of any hazard of which he or she knows.”  This duty to report also includes workplace violence.

Additionally, the Greater Essex County District School Board Workplace Violence Prevention policy also states that workers have the responsibility to immediately notify their supervisor of any incident of workplace violence and/or Health and Safety matter.

Reporting improves safety for all.  When an incident of workplace violence is reported, the principal (supervisor) must investigate and deal with the incident.  The principal and school board must meet their obligation under the OHSA to “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker” and will follow Board procedures to control the risks of workplace violence that have been identified.  Reporting also allows the school board  to gather information about the extent and nature of such incidents and develop strategies to improve the safety of all workers  in all of our schools

What If I Feel That More Needs To Be Done?

Your safety is important.  Speak with your principal about what additional measures can be put in place to protect you.

Contact the OSSTF office for support.

If incidents of workplace violence continue to happen, please continue to report every incident.

Information courtesy of OSSTF documents and Internet searches on Workplace Violence and how other unions inform their members on their rights and obligations on reporting Accidents and Injuries and Workplace Violence.

 

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Author: Martha Hradowy

President of the Educational Support Staff Bargaining Unit District 9

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