All employers – including physicians – want to ensure their workplace is free from violence. While we like to think it will never to happen to us, unfortunately, violence does occur in physician practices. Like employers around the province, physicians have a responsibility to ensure your practice and the staff who work for you are safe.
Defining workplace violence
WorkSafeBC defines workplace violence as the attempted or actual exercise of physical force so as to cause injury to a worker, and includes any threatening statement or behaviour that gives a worker reasonable cause to believe he or she is at risk of injury.
Steps to take
The process of keeping your workplace safe doesn’t have to be onerous, and there are a number of steps you can take. Often, the most important piece is simply talking to staff and colleagues about what to do before anything happens.
Another step involves conducting a risk assessment. If the assessment shows that there is a risk of violence, the employer should develop a workplace violence prevention program.
WorkSafeBC has created a number of resources to support physicians running office-based practices to ensure your workplace is safe. They include the following:
If you are a physician working in a hospital or facility, we recommend you contact your Heath Authority through Medical Affairs with any safety concerns you may have.