Ridout Barron


Health care workers facing workplace harassment

Support workers and nurses in the health care field have reported they are facing unprecedented levels of violence in their workplaces, and they are blaming both the hospitals they work for and the government at large. Alberta health care workers can doubtless sympathize with the plight of Ontario workers as they demand change from the ministry of labour to limit the harassment and violence they experience daily. These workers reportedly face the second-highest rate of workplace injuries in the country. 

A 2014 study conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that nearly half of all health care workers would be or had been assaulted by a patient at some point in their careers. Of 54 workers polled, 53 said they had experienced some level of violence carried out by patients. Worse, they identified these incidences as being "systematically accepted" by administration. One polled individual compared the situation to domestic violence, wherein the powers that be would cover up the incidences and blame the victims. 

Of the myriad of issues pointed out by interested parties, precautions had not been taken by administrators to look out for the safety of hospital workers. One individual was badly injured by a patient because the hospital had not bolted down furniture in the room, as would be generally required. Underfunding and understaffing were both issues that workers say contributed to the hostile environment as well. 

Alberta residents would likely agree that, as a general rule, people should not go to work fearing for their safety. From harassment to violence, it is the responsibility of governmental and administrative bodies to look after the safety of their employees. Individuals who feel unsafe at work may benefit from seeking counsel from an experienced employment attorney.

Source: metronews.ca, "Ontario health-care workers face "epidemic of violence"", March 13, 2017

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