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Incidents of workplace violence and harassment still occur today in many of our workplaces unfortunately. Through my company, I spend a great deal of time helping my clients be proactive by equipping their managers and employees with the skills, knowledge, and language they need to effectively navigate challenging situations before the situation escalates into disrespect. 

Any incident of violence or harassment, which can include situations such as bullying, can have a major impact on a business. The health and well-being of employees can be impacted as well as productivity and customer service. 

To better protect workers from violence and harassment and create a more respectful culture in the workplace, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador made improvements to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations in 2019, including provisions to address workplace harassment and worker-on-worker violence. 

If you have yet to view these changes, businesses should be aware that changes include updates to definitions related to violence and workplace harassment, wider violence risk assessment requirements,  new obligations for employers to proactively establish a written harassment prevention plan and to make that plan accessible to employees, as well as a requirement to provide training to employees on both the plan and on harassment prevention, among other changes. 

These new regulations came into effect on January 1, 2020 and the full regulations can be found online here: https://www.gov.nl.ca/snl/files/printer-gazette-extraordinary-issues-2019-nlg190515-extra.pdf

All businesses are required to comply with these regulations and I always advise my clients to also ensure that the training portion of these requirements include elements of respectful workplace including respectful communication and strategies for managing our emotions during times of stress or during challenging moments with co-workers or customers. 

It’s not enough just to train employees on the policy and related procedures. All employees, including management, must be equipped with knowledge and skills on how to deal with any issues of disrespect as they arise and before the situation worsens as well as an understanding of what it really means to have a respectful workplace in the 21st century.

Businesses that have not yet completed the training requirement related to these recent OHS workplace violence & harassment prevention obligations can feel free to reach out to me, Corina Walsh, via email at corina@shiftpd.com if you have any questions or to obtain the required training.

Corina Walsh

Corina Walsh

CEO, Shift People Development Inc.

Corina Walsh is an author, speaker, and certified coach. Through her company, Shift People Development Inc. Corina helps businesses of all sizes build cultures of growth and excellence through leadership and team development programs and culture shaping initiatives. Corina is the author of The Engaged Employee Blueprint – Build a Workplace Culture Where Employees Thrive and is a 2018 YWCA Woman of Distinction in Business.

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