Risk Assessment

Violence can occur in any workplace and in any line of work. Some workplaces, including the education sector, are at higher risk of violence because of the nature of the activities and interactions with the public. Risk assessments are used to identify activities that may increase the risk of violence and assist with the implementation of measures and procedures to control those risks.

Risk Activities

Face to Face Contact

Refers to employees having face to face business/customer service dealings with students, clients or members of the public. Such interactions may involve dealing with an irate person. Examples: Faculty, front line employees in Academic offices, Admissions, Alumni Relations, Bookstore, Counselling, Disability Services, Financial Services etc...

Handling Cash or Valuables

Refers to employees storing, delivering or collecting money for merchandise, tuition or other business transactions.

Working Alone

Refers to employees in situations whereby they are out of sight and hearing of others and when they do not expect a visit from another person.

Working alone does not necessarily increase the risk of violence. It is important to assess each situation by considering circumstances such as the type of work, interaction with clients or public and the consequences of an emergency to determine whether the risk is low or high.

Meeting with Potentially Volatile Individuals

Refers to employees involved in meetings or interactions that may elicit a negative or confrontational response. Examples include: Health Services, Counselling Services, Financial Aid, Admissions, Registration, Human Resources, Job Centres, Security Services and Academic areas.

Traveling or Hotel

Refers to employees traveling out of town to conduct site visits, attend meetings, conferences or seminars, daily or overnight. All employees have potential to attend seminars or conferences as part of their professional development. Some employees travel out of the city as part of their daily work activities. Examples include: Job Centers, Student Recruitment, Development and some Academic departments.

Working in Community-Based Settings

Refers to employees travelling in the community; providing services in private homes - caregivers, home support workers. College employees do not provide services in private homes or dwellings. However, some employees travel in the community to perform work related functions. Examples include: Job Centers, Advancement and Public Affairs and some Academic areas.

Working in High Crime Area

Working in areas where there is a high potential for assault, robbery, theft or property damage.

Conducting Risk Assessments

Supervisors are required to complete departmental assessments to assess the risk of violence. This involves:

  • Reviewing physical conditions of the workplace
  • Identifying and reviewing specific risks

Contact the Occupational Health and Safety Office if you require additional information or assistance.

Physical Assessments

Use the Workplace Violence Hazard Inspection Form (opens PDF, 381kb) to assess the general physical conditions of the exterior and interior spaces.

Assessments for Specific Risks

  1. Print the Departmental Violence Hazard Assessment Form (opens PDF, 349kb) and the Control Measures for Violence (opens PDF, 321kb) .
  2. Solicit input from employees and review work activities that increase the risk of violence. Review existing controls and determine whether they are adequate or identify other controls you feel may be needed.
  3. Ensure employees are aware of the risks and know how to protect themselves.
  4. Electronically submit the completed form to the Occupational Health and Safety Department for review and follow-up and keep a copy on file in your area for reference purposes.