“Sticks and Stones May Break Bones, But Words Can Break Your Workplace” By Theo Kowalchuk, President, 1 Life Workplace Safety and Health Ltd.

Aug 2, 2011 | Corporate Member News

The reality of today’s workplace includes an increased risk of violence and harassment against workers from customers, co-workers, supervisors and the general public.   Here are some statistics you might find surprising:

  • 82% of all workers will be a target of workplace abuse at some point in their career (Cdn Safety Council)
  • Workplace bullying is 3 times more common than sexual harassment (BC Business Magazine).
  • Stress contributes to 60% of workplace incidents (Cdn Policy Research Organization). 

Workplace harassment increases a person’s stress levels and creates a diminished ability to cope, resulting in irrational behavior, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, inability to focus on tasks, anger, frustration, irritability, and more.  Not only is workplace harassment costly to employees and workplace moral, it’s bad for business. 

All employers must be aware of new harassment legislation being implemented in Manitoba that places new duties upon them.  Specifically, new harassment legislation requiring employers to identify and control psychological harassment (bullying) in the workplace now gives employees more grounds to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.  These types of complaints leave employers exposed to public hearings and embarrassment, not to mention debilitating costs.

A harassment complaint that escalates to a lawsuit can easily cost $50 000 to $100 000 and take three to five years to settle. It doesn’t stop there. (National Post Mar. 17/03) 

Jamie Alyce Jurczak

Jamie Jurczak, a lawyer with Taylor McCaffrey specializing in labour and employment law states “Sometimes people forget harassment is a safety and health issue.  A poisoned work environment leaves employees feeling unsafe and vulnerable, which can affect not only their personal health, but the health of the workplace as a whole.  A harassment free workplace is not only required by law, but it is good for business.”

New violence legislation in force August 31, 2011 affects specific industries such as healthcare, education, crisis counseling, taxi and transit.  Employers must assess the risk of violence and develop policies and safe work procedures accordingly.  In addition, employers are required to inform workers of the nature and extent of the risk and prepare an annual report on violent incidents.  The report must be submitted to the Workplace Safety and Health Committee or Representative. These requirements are in addition to the existing requirements of MR 210/06 Part 11.

For more information on these requirements and how to mitigate the risks to your employees and your business, attend our upcoming workshop “Effective Management of Workplace Violence and Harassment”.  Manitoba Chamber Members receive a 20% discount

Click here to find out more about this event.

About 1 Life Workplace Safety and Health Ltd.

We are committed to sending workers home safe and healthy at the end of every workday and protecting business owners from Workplace Safety and Health related liability.

Our experienced team of Safety Professionals combine their passion for workplace safety with 1 Life’s innovative tools & technology to support Manitoba businesses in creating safer work environments, reducing their total cost of risk and meeting the requirements of Manitoba Workplace Safety & Health legislation.

We know from experience that the best managed safety systems are driven from within the organization where all parties are given responsibilities for safety and health and are held accountable.  1Life Safety & Health specializes in providing the knowledge and education that raises the competence of individuals and empowers the organization to manage safety and health effectively from within. 

Whether your organization needs regulatory compliance guidance, system development, risk assessment, high impact training, or access to tools to streamline your workplace safety processes, 1 Life Workplace Safety & Health has the combination of unique products and services to meet your needs.

We look forward to adding you to our “Client Family” and having a positive impact on your safety management system!

Learn more here

About Theo Kowalchuk: 

Theo Kowalchuk

CRSP, CHSC, B.Sc.Ag., Certified COR Auditor, President and Founder, 1 Life Workplace Safety and Health Ltd.

Theo has over 20 years experience as a business owner and entrepreneur, and over 12 years of safety management related experience, working both locally and internationally as aconsultant and trainer.  She also has10 years experience working as a Paramedic, witnessing firsthand the acute affects of workplace injuries and illness.

Theo is a Board Certified Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and a Certified Safety and HealthConsultant (Canadian Society of Safety Engineers). She is both a Lloyds Register and a CORcertified auditor providing external audits for the Manitoba HeavyConstruction Association.  Theo is a requested presenter to the Canadian Societyof Safety Engineering, the Accident Prevention Association of Manitoba, and the Manitoba Construction Safety Association Professional Development Conferences. She is also an instructor for Red River College, Occupational Safety and Health Certificate Program.

Theo served as Vice President of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering 2008-2010, a member in good standing with Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals and sits on the AED Guidelines Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba.

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