Surveying employees can help you unearth hidden workplace violence and harassment hazards at your site.
Federal OHS laws (Bill C-65) require employers to perform a hazard assessment of not only workplace violence but also harassment. Rather than conduct separate assessments, you should do one, combined survey covering both violence and harassment. The best way to do that is to use your current workplace violence hazard assessment template but expand it to include the organizational, cultural and other external risk factors that must be addressed as part of the workplace harassment hazard assessment.
One of the best ways to gather the information you need to assess these risk factors is to survey your workers and find out how they perceive your organization’s culture and whether they believe violence and harassment are taking place in the workplace. Workers should also be surveyed when they leave the organization as part of the exit interview. Best Practice: Doing a confidential rather than an anonymous survey generally produces the best results because it enables workers to answer candidly.
Here’s a Model Questionnaire that you can adapt. Caveat: Be aware that survey results suggesting that there are workplace violence, harassment or bullying issues within your organization creates a legal duty to take action. If not, the survey becomes a smoking gun that OHS inspectors and prosecutors can use against you.