Workplace Violence Prevention Employee Training: What does It Look Like?

Education and training are vital components of any Workplace Violence Prevention program.
When you think back to the last training session that you attended…….what do you remember about it?
Do you remember the presenter? Do you remember the information that was being presented? Or do you remember the actual experience of the training session itself? Did you see things differently following the session?
One of my favourite quotes is from Sydney J. Harris:
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”

There are many facets that go into building an effective Workplace Violence Prevention training session.

Regardless of what style of training program you decide upon, there are certain aspects that must be present in order to comply with the appropriate legislation. In British Columbia, that legislation is contained within the Occupational Health & Safety Regulations: Section 4.30.
The precise contents of the Workplace Violence Prevention training will largely depend on the outcomes of the Risk Assessment and the employer’s specific prevention program. This will have determined which employees are in high, moderate and low risk categories of exposure to violence in the workplace. The Risk Assessments results will also show which employees are in need of Workplace Violence Prevention training, the kind of training that they should be given and which supervisors may also require training.
Since the prevention of workplace violence is for the employee’s benefit, as well as the prevention of loss or property and process, the employee’s knowledge and involvement in the program is critical. A concerted effort must then be placed on the training portion to ensure that they are fully informed and understand its significance.

The Workplace Violence Prevention training MUST include the following basic elements:

• Information regarding each employee’s rights and responsibilities under the relevant legislation and organizational policy
• Information on how to recognize the potential for workplace violence
• The definition of violence in the workplace
• Information on the dynamics of violence
• Information regarding conflict resolution skills
• Information on defusing potentially volatile situations
• The scope and risk factors associated to workplace violence at the employee’s workplace
• Information regarding Domestic Violence within the workplace
• Information regarding the organization’s prevention policy
• Information regarding the organization’s procedures and arrangements taken to minimize or reduce the risk of workplace violence
• Information regarding safe and appropriate responses to incidents or potential incidents, including how to obtain immediate assistance
• Information on the correct manner in which to report, investigate and document incidents and potential incidents
• Information on follow up and support services that are available to them in the event of an incident involving workplace violence including medical services, and the availability of counselling and referrals
• Information on personal safety in and out of the workplace
The premise behind this Workplace Violence Prevention Employee training is that as the employee’s knowledge and awareness increase, so will their level of confidence in knowing what to do if involved in a workplace violence incident and can contribute to preventing it from occurring.

The Workplace Violence Prevention training should conform to a number of basic criteria.

It should:
• Be provided on company time
• Use easily understood terminology and concepts
• Be provided in the languages spoken by the employees
• Provide sufficient time for questions and answers
• Be provided by knowledgeable trainers who are qualified in this field of expertise
• Be provided before a new job assignment is undertaken or when a law changes that relates to Workplace Violence and
• Be provided at least every 3 years.
There is a lot here, but it is how you are going to help your employees work safer.
Good Luck With Your Workplace Violence Prevention Training!
Phil Eastwood, M.A.
Senior Partner