Violence in the Workplace

Last updated: May 20, 2021

If you need immediate help with a potential targeted threat of violence:

  • Call 911 if you believe there is immediate danger
  • Contact the BC Public Service Agency's 24-hour emergency safety line at 1-250-952-0911
    • This number is for employees of the BC Provincial Government and their managers only.  If you are not employed by the BC Provincial Government please call WorkSafe BC at 1-888-621-SAFE (7233)

WorkSafeBC defines violence as "the attempted or actual exercise by a person, other than a worker, of any physical force so as to cause injury to a worker, and includes any threatening statement or behaviour which gives a worker reasonable cause to believe that he or she is at risk of injury."

Violence or conflict between co-workers is covered under the Workplace Conduct regulation and the BC Public Service Standards of Conduct. It's the supervisor's responsibility to manage.

Violence isn't just a physical assault. It also includes threats, verbal abuse, intimidation and the spillover of domestic violence into the workplace. All staff play a vital role in preventing violence by following safe work procedures, reporting incidents, and helping with risk assessments or investigations.

When there is a risk of violence, employees need training in:

  • How to recognize potential violence
  • Workplace-specific violence prevention procedures, such as de-escalation
  • Response to violent incidents
  • Reporting violent incidents
  • Accessing counselling and support

All violent or potentially violent incidents require an investigation and follow up. Supervisors should review the violence prevention program regularly. Visit Managing Occupational Health & Safety's Violence in the Workplace to learn about supervisor responsibilities.

Learn more about safety training or enrol in violence in the workplace training courses.

Targeted threat of violence and threat assessment

There may be times that you or your workplace face a possible targeted threat of violence, either internal or external. This threat may come to your attention through:

  • A call from a co-worker, client or other party
  • A discipline/termination process
  • Directly by another person

If you're faced with a possible targeted threat of violence, talk to your supervisor immediately.

The BC Public Service Agency and the Government Security Office, Risk Management Branch has a comprehensive program to manage internal or external threats of violence targeting employees and public service workplaces. Together, we offer a confidential assessment to determine the level and nature of a threat posed by an individual or group, and provide strategies to help manage the risk.