Thursday, February 05, 2009

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION POLICY


The Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept and enact the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy that was presented by Cheif Salzmann and Cheif Keller.

The City of Kingston had a less defined policy on this procedure, but with tension in some of our departments continuing to simmer, we all felt clearer directives were overdue. It is also more in-line with the requirements of NYS Labor Law 27b and forces all employees to participate in the Annual Training Programs.

There are no more grey areas of improper conduct in the workplace. The verbal or physical threats that may have been ignored by co-workers and superiors in the past will have no free pass, as the process and boundaries are clearly defined for all employees.

Written words, gestures or symbols that depict any degradation of character of anyone will not be tolerated and the workforce is encouraged to notify their immediate supervisors of any such incidents.

Why it took so long to bring this better defined document to light, we can only speculate. Business as usual? Boys will be boys? The employees throughout the city deserve an environment free of threats. Our experiences in recent months have given plenty of opportunity for the Administration to clean up the long ignored and/or lacking workplace safeguards.

During the last decade, homicide was the third leading cause of death for all municipal workers and the leading cause of occupational death for female workers. The risk evaluations under-way will help determine the possible dangers that employees face from workplace violence risks.

Look for the Mayor to appoint personnel to the new Workplace Violence Advisory Team which is sure to include the police and fire chiefs, as well as key safety officers and civilians that provide needed expertise.

May the City of Kingston serve as a shining example of what is expected from every workplace in New York State.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The city is light years behind on this issue. If you look at the law, the unions have a big say in this. CSEA have been doing classes on this for a few years now. This law was created, not so much for worker on worker violence, but client on worker.

Client at DDS would assault a worker and nothing would happen to the client because they were developmentally disabled. If a worker defended themselves they would be fired.

With the city of Kingston, I would look at the building department personnel and the code enforcement officer positions. Telling taxpayers they are in violation of the law is something they do not want to hear and can get violent. The building department has incidents like that regularly. That is why the door stays locked. At DPW 2 supervisors were chase by a man with a machete.
This is the type of workplace violence the law was created for not specifically worker on worker.

The County has had a program in place for a number of years. The City would be wise to pattern theirs after the county.

Anonymous said...

Lovely!
Now what would it take to have KHA employees treat tenants with respect on many levels? A different policy I take it...what could we call it??...Yes..."The Prisoner/Correction Officer Detente' Policy" hahaha. I think the analogy here is first get rid of slavery, and THEN get rid of discrimination!! Hah!! Could it be done? Yes...in our lifetimes...nahhhh....
Now let's get real:this stupid city is nothing but bull*&^%$#$##^%^&*(%^(^( and it will be nothing but bull$%^$#*&*@# FOREVER!!! It'll take societal surgeons working fulltime fifty thousand years to clean up the crap here in this scenic upstate rural city!! For sure!!

Anonymous said...

Great, announce to the world that we've been operating without a well defined document describing conduct at the workplace. The public will now understand what all the mayhem at our DPW garage is all about. Our employees were never told specifically how to act toward each other while conducting their jobs.
When you fill positions on the basis of who they are and related to, rather than the level of workmanship and natural co-worker respect, this is what you get.
Half these guys would starve in the private sector. If I were employed by the city, I would be on my best behavior, because the real world is experiencing 10% unemployment.
Get to work people!

Bart Robins said...

The workplace violence act is not a law yet, but should be very shortly. I look forward to sitting down wiht both chiefs and help them develop a policy. CSEA was a major player in getting this soon to law in place.

I will bring the experts from CSEA to the table and help the City set up its policy. This will not cost the taxpayers one dime.

Anonymous said...

This is great news for the city, but a little late. The city is starting to relizes that it has been behind for a might long time. It took 3 woman from DPW to let it be know this is a pattern and it needs to stop. Its hard to change but thousands of people are being layed off and if you want a job, step up and act like you do. Is it hard to treat people nice and with respect. These are jobs not a party place and rules are rules. Its to bad we have to teach people not to look at dirty books and throw tits around the office where business is taking place. Those are things for your home life. Thanks to the man bring this forward. I hope you pick people from each ward, that is not in the hand shaking crew.