Violence in the Workplace

Most people think that workplace violence is a physical assault. Workplace violence can also include actions such as threatening behaviour, written or verbal threats, harassment, verbal abuse and various physical attacks.Violence is an act that includes any threatening statements, gestures to an individual or others or any form of physical aggression.

UBC is committed to providing an environment that is as safe from the threat of violence as possible.

  • If there is an imminent risk of violence at UBC Okanagan, call 9-1-1 and / or campus security (250.807.8111).
  • General concerns about personal security or risks of violence can be brought to your supervisor or Campus Security (250.807.8111). More information about personal security can be found on the UBC O Emergency Procedures and Information website.


What is Workplace Violence

Although any violence will not be tolerated at UBC, Workplace violence has a specific definition:

Violence in the workplace is any incidents of violence including attempted or actual assaults, or any threatening statement or behaviour, towards an employee by any person other than a co-worker, which give the employee reasonable cause to believe that he or she is at risk of injury (WorkSafeBC OHS 4.27-4.31).



Workplace Violence Prevention

Certain jobs and work environments may present a risk of injury to employees arising from violence. There are a variety of risk factors that need to be considered when assessing the risk of violence, some of which include activities where employees interact with members of the public, handle money in retail settings, work with pharmaceutical drugs or work after-hours.

Training: All employees as UBC are required to complete the Workplace Violence Prevention Training. Additional training may be identified by supervisors/managers as a result of completing the workplace violence risk assessment for the specific work area and activities.

Risk Assessment: A risk assessment must be performed in any workplace in which a risk of injury to workers from violence arising out of their employment may be present. These include areas where the following risk factors are present:

  • Working alone or in isolation with the likelihood of dealing with an irate person.
  • Providing services directly to the public.
  • Handling, securing, protecting cash or valuables including narcotics and controlled substances.
  • Making decisions which may impact academic; employment status; or dealing with controversial personal matters.
  • Dealing with unstable/volatile individuals.
  • Patrolling or providing protective services and/or by-law enforcement.
  • Transporting people or goods.
  • Traveling to remote or hazardous locations.

The risk assessment involves a review of previous experience in that workplace, occupational experience in similar workplaces, and the location and circumstances in which work will take place.

Supervisors/managers should use this document to perform their violence in the workplace violence risk assessment.

The outcomes of the risk assessment will involve determining if any additional hazard control is necessary.

Supervisors/managers are encouraged to engage HSE and/or Campus Security to support them in completing their Violence Risk Assessment.


Reporting and Investigating Incidents of Workplace Violence

Any imminent risk of workplace violence should be reported immediately to 9-1-1 and/or Campus Security (250.807.8111). Where an incident of workplace violence has occurred and there is no longer an imminent risk, workers must report the situation to their supervisor/manager. The supervisor/manager will work with Campus Security to ensure that any necessary interventions are in place to mitigate any further risks of violence and to investigate. The worker and supervisor will make a report of the incident through UBC Centralized Accident Incident Reporting System (UBC CAIRS).