Is there specific workplace violence prevention legislation?

Most Canadian jurisdictions have a “general duty provision” in their Occupational Health & Safety legislation, which requires employers to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of employees.  More information on this topic is available in the OSHAnswers document OH&S Legislation - Due Diligence. This provision would include protecting employees from a known risk of workplace violence.

British Columbia and Saskatchewan have specific workplace violence prevention regulations. Nova Scotia has draft workplace violence regulations. Manitoba has the “Workers Working Alone Regulation” which applies to victimization through criminal violence. Other provinces also have working alone regulations that may have some implications for workplace violence.

In the United States, there is a “General Duty Clause” in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The General Duty Clause would include recognized threats of violence.

California has legislation that requires businesses to have a workplace injury prevention plan and a specific law to combat violence in hospitals.  Washington and Florida have laws in place to protect against certain types of retail violence.

Most North American jurisdictions also have legislation on stalking, threats, harassment and physical assault.

This list is not intended to be comprehensive. Contact your local authorities to find out more about the specific laws applicable to violence in your jurisdiction.

Many international occupational health and safety legislators have also included a “general duty” that employer’s protect employees against known risks.


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