It is a sad reality that teachers experience violence in their classrooms and schools. Thankfully, in our school division violent incidents are uncommon and typically aren’t severe. Yet the reality is that they do occur despite our best efforts to create safe classrooms and develop plans for students who need extra behavior support. As teachers, we’ve traditionally seen violence as a teaching or student behavior issue. While violence does fit these categories, we also need to view it as a workplace safety and health issue.
Manitoba’s Workplace Safety and Health legislation defines violence as the “attempted or actual exercise of physical force against anyone, or any threatening statement or behaviour that gives a person reason to believe that physical force will be used against them.” It is worth noting that this is quite a broad definition of violence, including attempts, threatening statements, or anything that causes one to believe that violence will be used. Remember that any source of violence counts, be it a colleague, administrator, parent, student, or member of the public.
Reporting workplace violence is very important. Complete a WSH incident report for any and all incidents of workplace violence. Remember that your WSH report ALWAYS needs to be completed, even if you’ve reported the incident verbally or reported student behavior via other protocols. Also keep in mind that “near misses” matter when reporting violent incidents. Reporting a near miss is critical because it allows us to learn from the incident without anyone suffering injury.
The bottom line: complete an WSH incident report for all instances of workplace violence. If you need more information you can contact your on-site WSH chair, your BLTA WSH Chair Kerry Enns, or call MTS staff officer Darren Hardy (1-800-262-8803).
View Violence is Not Part of the Job poster.