Policy Information

Date Established: 11/4/2010
Date Last Updated: 1/5/2012
Category:
Human Resources
Responsible Office:
Employee Relations
Responsible Executive:
Vice President for Finance and Administration

Policy Contents

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Workplace Violence Prevention

Summary

The University at Buffalo is committed to providing a safe work environment for all employees and will respond promptly to threats, acts of violence, and acts of aggression by employees or against employees by coworkers, members of the public, students, or others.

Policy Statement

The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to providing a safe work environment for all employees and will not tolerate any act or threat of violence made in the workplace, on university property, or by an employee while conducting university business. The university will respond promptly to threats, acts of violence, and acts of aggression by employees or against employees by coworkers, members of the public, students, or others. Violent conduct or any threat of violence, implied or direct, is prohibited on university property or in connection with university business. This includes but is not limited to:

  • the use of force with the intent to cause harm, e.g., physical attacks, any unwanted contact such as hitting, fighting, pushing, or throwing objects
  • behavior that diminishes the dignity of others through unlawful harassment, including harassment based on sex, race, national origin, religion, disability, age, or sexual orientation
  • acts or threats which are intended to intimidate, harass, threaten, bully, coerce, or cause fear of harm whether directly or indirectly
  • acts or threats made directly or indirectly by oral or written words, body language, gestures, or symbols that communicate a direct or indirect threat of physical or mental harm
  • stalking a person with the intent of causing fear.

An individual may not carry, possess, or use any dangerous instrument or weapon (e.g., firearms, explosives, other weapons, dangerous chemicals) unless the individual has legal authority to carry such weapon in the performance of his/her duties, regardless of their work location (including both university-owned and non-university-owned premises).

The Workplace Violence Advisory Team has reviewed injury records and police reports relative to workplace violence in the development of this program. Consultants were retained to review our campus structure along with policies, procedures and practices. Where exposures were found, recommendations were made and have been taken under advisement.

Workplace Violence Advisory Team

The Workplace Violence Advisory Team (comprised of representatives from Employee Relations (ER), University Police, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), and State and Research Foundation (RF) Benefits Administration) have and will continue to:

  • monitor compliance with risk evaluation measures to determine the presence of factors or situations that might place employees at risk of workplace violence
  • identify high risk occupations
  • identify risk factors in the workplace; risk factors have been identified such as lack of or low lighting, security cameras, and availability of blue phones
  • follow hierarchy of controls by eliminating the hazard if possible and if it cannot be eliminated, develop administrative controls or, as applicable, personal protective equipment
  • implement improvements recommended by our consultants and others in response to identified hazards (e.g., increased lighting, increased number of blue phones and security cameras)
  • facilitate workplace violence prevention training to prepare individuals to recognize the signs and behaviors of potential workplace violence and how to respond to occurrences of workplace violence
  • utilize workplace violence prevention resources including University Police, campus incident reports, and consultant workplace safety suggestions to assist in recognizing and preventing workplace violence
  • utilize prevention, intervention, and interviewing techniques in responding to workplace violence
  • evaluate incidents of workplace violence to prevent future occurrences.

Information and Training for Employees

The University at Buffalo will provide the following information and training on the risks of violence in the workplace at employee orientation and annually thereafter:

  • requirements of New York State (NYS) Labor Law §27-b & 12 NYCRR Part 800.6
  • location of this Workplace Violence Prevention Policy
  • measures employees can take to protect themselves from workplace violence, including becoming familiar with the details of the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy and who to report an incident to
  • risk factors in the workplace
  • how to sign up for the UB Alert system to have important workplace safety information sent via email and/or text message
  • the UB Police website address, which includes a posting of all alerts
  • contact information for Univeresity Police escorts; employees who are victims of violence, receiving threats, or have a specific cause to be concerned for their safety, may request University Police escorts
  • Sub-Board I, Inc. (SBI) safety services including the safety shuttle and safety walk stations.

Retaliation

The university has a zero-tolerance policy regarding retaliatory action. Retaliatory action against anyone acting in good faith who has made a complaint of workplace violence, who has reported witnessing workplace violence, or who has been involved in reporting, investigating, or responding to workplace violence is a violation of this policy. Retaliatory acts may include, but are not limited to: (1) employment actions affecting salary, promotion, job duties, work schedules and/or work locations; (2) any action affecting the employee’s work atmosphere. Those found responsible for retaliatory action may be subject to discipline up to and including termination, and/or criminal charges, if applicable. To report a retaliatory action, please contact one of the offices listed under Workplace Violence Advisory Team on page one of this policy.

Applicability

This policy applies to all university entities and employees.

Definitions

Workplace Violence

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as “violent acts (including physical assaults and threats of assaults) directed toward persons at work or on duty.” Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior, aggressive behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting.

Workplace Violence Prevention Risk Evaluation

An employer’s inspection or examination of their workplace to determine if existing or potential hazards exist that might place employees at risk of occupational assaults or homicides. NYS Labor Law requires all public employers to perform a risk evaluation of their workplace. Risk evaluation techniques include:

  • examination of the history of past incidents to identify patterns or trends which occurred in your workplace
  • a review of occupational injury and illness logs (SH900) and incident reports to identify injuries that may have resulted from workplace violence incidents
  • surveying employees regarding details associated with the occurrence of workplace violence incidents
  • conducting physical workplace security building surveys.

Responsibility

Workplace Violence Advisory Team

  • Monitor compliance with risk evaluation measures to determine the presence of factors or situations that might place employees at risk of workplace violence. Identify high risk occupations.
  • Annually perform a Workplace Violence Prevention Risk Evaluation that includes:
    • examination of the history of past incidents to identify patterns or trends in the workplace
      • an evaluation may also occur for repeat incidents in a short period of time or an injury requiring more than first aid.
    • review of occupational injury and illness logs (SH900) and incident reports to identify injuries that may have resulted from workplace violence incidents
    • survey of employees regarding details associated with the occurrence of workplace violence incidents.
  • Develop workplace violence prevention training materials to prepare individuals to recognize the signs and behaviors of potential workplace violence and how to respond to occurrences of workplace violence.
  • Utilize workplace violence prevention tools to assist in recognizing and preventing workplace violence on campus.
  • Utilize prevention, intervention, and interviewing techniques in responding to workplace violence.
  • Evaluate reported incidents of workplace violence to prevent future occurrences.

Managers/Supervisors

  • Report all incidents and concerns for potential workplace violence to UPD then the Employee Relations Office immediately.
  • Annually perform a departmental Workplace Violence Prevention Risk Evaluation that includes:
    • examination of the history of past incidents to identify patterns or trends which occurred in your workplace
    • conducting physical workplace security building surveys; UPD may assist with this upon request.
  • Monitor to ensure that all employees comply with the annual requirement for completing Workplace Violence training.

Employees

  • Report all incidents and concerns of potential workplace violence to UPD, your supervisor, and/or the Employee Relations Office immediately.
  • Annually complete the Workplace Violence training program.

Management, along with authorized employee representatives, will work together to keep the University at Buffalo a safe place to work. 

Contact Information

Employee Assistance Program
120 Crofts Hall
Buffalo, NY  14260
Phone:  716-645-4460

Employee Relations                                                         
120 Crofts Hall                                                               
Buffalo, NY  14260                                                        
Phone:  716-645-7777                                                 

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
406 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY  14260
Phone:  716-645-2266
Fax:  716-645-3952

University Police                                      
Bissell Hall                                                                       
Buffalo, NY  14260                                                        
Phone:  716-645-2227                                                
Fax:  716-645-3758                                                     
http://www.public-safety.buffalo.edu/

University Policy Escort
Phone:  716-645-2227

SBI Safety Services
Safety Shuttle:  716-829-2584
https://subboard.com/healthed.html

Related Documents, Forms, Links

University Documents:

Forms:

Related Links:

History

January 2012 Updated to expand the restriction regarding the possession of weapons to include university employees working on non-university owned premises.
November 2011 Updated the Office of Equity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Administration (EDAAA) department name to reflect the current name of Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).
December 2010 Updated to add information in accordance with requirements of the New York State Department of Education and New York State Department of Public Employee Safety & Health.

Presidential Approval

Signed by President John B. Simpson

John B. Simpson, President

11/4/2010

Date