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Difficult Clients: Dealing with responsive behaviours

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Want to learn more about how you can develop a workplace Responsive Behaviour Prevention Program? We've partnered with the author for a free webinar on June 15. Register here.

What is “real” violence?

Extreme violence includes homicides and firearm injuries - incidents which tend to get the most press and social media attention. However, these incidents are infrequent and are a minority of workplace violence incidents in Canada.

So, what is “real” violence?

"Real" violence refers to the more frequent everyday acts of violence which could include: a patient who strikes out at his caregiver because he doesn’t want his medication; a customer that threatens to hit a bus driver because she doesn’t want to pay for her ticket; or a motorist who physically intimidates a policeman because he is asked for the vehicle’s registration certificate.

In Canada, on average, there are 350,000 cases of workplace violence each year. Workers remain vulnerable to the effects of workplace violence, with nearly 1 in 5 victimizations of violence occurring at work. Violence continues to be a growing concern in Canada.

"It's just a part of the job...”

Workplace violence is increasing for many occupational groups, such as health care workers. There are both short-term and long-term effects that are costly to the worker and the organization.

“The issue of violence against health care workers is growing,” says Henrietta Van Hulle, Executive Director, Healthcare and Community Service Sector of the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA). In 2015, there was as high as 31.8% of lost-time injuries due to workplace violence occurring in the healthcare sector and out of 34 occupational categories, more workdays were lost among nurses than any other category.

The International Labour Organization refers to workplace violence as: “Any action, incident, or behavior that departs from reasonable conduct in which a person is assaulted, threatened, harmed, injured in course of or as direct result of his or her work”.

Canada has prescribed Workplace Violence Prevention Regulations in eight jurisdictions.

What type of violence is the most prevalent in Canada?

Type II – Client or Customer: While some clients/customers may have the intent to cause harm, others may not have the same intent but may still be capable of violence.

How can an employer ensure workers are safe against workplace violence?

Our upcoming free webinar will provide you with an understanding of the five steps required to develop a sustainable Responsive Behaviour Prevention Program.

Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) is partially funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour and works with Ontario’s Public and Broader Public Sector employers and workers, providing training, consulting and resources to reduce workplace risks and prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.

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