New WorkSafeBC policies address workplace bullying and harassment

After province-wide consultation with unions and employers, WorkSafeBC has finally implemented three new policies that address on-the-job harassment and bullying.

The amendments to sections 115, 116 and 117 of the Workers Compensation Act, effective November 1, are aimed at preventing or reducing workplace bullying and harassment, and clearly outline the responsibilities of employers, supervisors and workers to create respectful work environments.

“We know that bullying and harassment are hot issues for our members,” says HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson. “And we’re pleased that WorkSafeBC is consulting with unions and other partners to develop and implement these much-needed workplace policies.”

To support the parties in complying with these new policies – which cover 2.2 million workers and about 215,000 employers – WorkSafeBC has updated its online Prevention Manual and issued guidelines with a resource toolkit. These can be downloaded from WorkSafeBC’s website.

The toolkit, which includes information, templates, and training modules, can be used by employers to modify any existing respectful workplace policies so that they include harassment and bullying language to bring them in line with the new policies.

“It is the employer’s legal responsibility to provide a safe work environment,” adds Pearson, “but it requires the commitment of all parties – managers and workers – to create an atmosphere that’s free of bullying.”

For more information, you can email policy@worksafebc.com, call the Prevention Information toll-free line at 1-888-621-7233 (604-276-3100 in the Lower Mainland), or visit the WorkSafeBC website.