National health and safety organization tackles workplace violence

Not-for-profit centre raising awareness of workplace violence as an occupational health and safety issue with posters for employers and online courses

Awareness of workplace violence is on the rise and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is pitching in on making it a health and safety issue. With violence and harassment becoming more prominent in health and safety legislation and being factored into employer liability, the CCOHS is disseminating information on the subject and has developed posters for employers to use that describe various types of behaviours that are considered workplace violence.

“Workplace violence is any act in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in his or her employment,” said Jessie Callaghan, senior technical specialist at CCOHS, and an expert in the areas of workplace violence and bullying. “It’s not limited to incidents that occur within a traditional workplace. Work-related violence can occur at off-site business functions, work social events, clients’ homes or away from work but resulting from work, such as a threatening telephone call to your home from a client.”

Workplace bullying is a form of workplace violence that involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates a person or group, or is an assertion of power through aggression. Each of these acts is considered a serious workplace problem and can cause undue stress, anxiety and low morale, ultimately affecting the individual, the employer and productivity as a whole for the organization.

CCOHS is providing the posters free of charge on its website,, where employers can also find online courses and webinars designed to provide further information on workplace violence and bullying. The organization is a not-for-profit federal department corporation governed by representatives from government, employers and labour that addresses workplace health and safety issues.

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