Chapter 3.15
WORKPLACE SAFETY AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION

Sections:

3.15.010    Policy.

3.15.020    Definitions.

3.15.030    Responsibilities.

3.15.040    Dissemination of Policy.

3.15.010 Policy.

This policy is intended to ensure that all employees adhere to work practices designed to make the workplace more secure and to refrain from verbal threats or physical actions which may create a safety or security hazard for others in the workplace.

The safety and security of the employees of Pierce County and members of the public seeking or receiving County services or using County facilities is of the utmost importance. Pierce County is committed to creating and maintaining a workplace free of unsafe acts and/or acts of violence. Unsafe acts and/or acts of violence including: threats of violence, intimidation or intimidating acts, threatening acts or other acts of violence by employees, co-workers, supervisors, managers or members of the public will not be tolerated and will not be ignored. Any of these prohibited acts committed by employees or members of the public while on premises owned or leased or work sites otherwise occupied by Pierce County will be prosecuted as appropriate and/or will cause the use of any appropriate managerial, administrative or disciplinary measure in order to provide a workplace free from unsafe acts and/or acts of violence.

(Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2002-15 § 1 (part), 2002)

3.15.020 Definitions.

A.    Unsafe Act. Includes, but is not limited to, any deliberate act or behavior which jeopardizes the safety or security of oneself, another person, or County property; or the failure to act, where there is a duty to act and/or take safety precautions or where such failure would reasonably be known to jeopardize the safety or security of oneself, another person or County property. An unsafe act may include physical contact, such as "horseplay" and is prohibited, whether or not an injury, safety violation, or actual harm results.

B.    Acts of Violence. Includes, but is not limited to, any deliberate act or behavior which:

1.    Results in a physical assault against a person such as hitting, pushing, kicking, holding/restraining, spitting on, or blocking the movement of another person.

2.    Constitutes a directly or indirectly communicated or reasonably perceived threat to cause harm, injure, intimidate or frighten another individual;

3.    Endangers the safety of oneself or another individual, whether or not an injury results;

4.    Would be reasonably perceived to constitute a threat of inflicting physical harm which in any way interferes with a person's safety, or consists of a directly or indirectly communicated or perceived threat to destroy property through the use of a weapon, firearm or other means;

5.    Would constitute the violation of a protective or restraining order which lists County locations as being protected areas; or

6.    Interferes with the orderly conduct of Pierce County operations.

An unsafe act and/or act of violence does not include communicated direction by a supervisor to require appropriate performance on the job, the imposition of disciplinary action, or warnings that discipline could occur, or law enforcement employees acting within the scope and authority of their position.

C.    Weapon. Includes, but is not limited to: firearms, knives, daggers, dirks, switchblades, swords, spears, javelins, bow and arrows, crossbows, darts, blow guns, slingshots, other devices designed to hurl or throw a missile or other object, martial arts devices capable of being used to inflict bodily injury, brass knuckles, striking or clubbing instruments, explosives or blasting caps, electronic stun devices, and any other object used as a weapon to create an unsafe workplace or commit an act of violence.

D.    Firearms. Any weapon capable of discharging a projectile by means of compressed air or chemical combustion.

E.    Workplace. Any building or area constituting the place where work is performed or assigned; common areas such as reception areas, halls and private or personal work areas; and any other area where employees engage in official County business, including field locations, County parking lots, vehicles either employer owned or leased or privately owned when used on County business.

F.    Member of the Public. Any person who has no legitimate employment-related relationship with the County, including: strangers who have no legitimate business relationship with the County; customers or clients who currently or previously have received services from the County or who have or have had a custodial relationship with the County including inmates, criminal suspects or prisoners; and individuals who have or had and personal relationships with County employees such as a current or former spouse, lover, relative, friend or acquaintance.

(Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2002-15 § 1 (part), 2002)

3.15.030 Responsibilities.

County officers or employees shall not commit an unsafe act and/or an act of violence and all officers and employees shall be responsible for reporting any unsafe act and/or act of violence in the workplace, whether or not physical injury occurs. Officers or employees who believe an unsafe act and/or an act of violence has occurred, observe or are informed of such an act, shall immediately notify their supervisor, department director or management representative. Insofar as possible, any report of an unsafe act and/or an act of violence shall include the name of the reporting party; the date, time and place of the act; the name or identity of the person alleged to have committed the act; a description of the act; and the names of any witnesses.

All employees, including managers and supervisors, are responsible for using safe work practices, for following all directives, policies and procedures, and for assisting in maintaining a safe and secure work environment.

A.    Employee Responsibilities.

1.    Imminent Threat or Act of Violence.

a.    Employees shall take the following steps if a threat of violence or act of violence presents an imminent danger to safety:

(1)    Immediately leave the area putting as much distance between themselves and the threat as possible.

(2)    Tell others to leave as the area is evacuated.

(3)    Call 911 and report the threat/emergency as soon as it is safe.

(4)    Provide the 911 dispatcher with identification and the nature and location of the threat/emergency.

(5)    Follow all directions from law enforcement.

(6)    Notify the Pierce County Security Operations Center when safe to do so. The number can be found on the Facilities Department internal website under Security Management/Personal Security. The Security Operations Center number is located under Contact Information.

2.    Threat or Unsafe Act.

a.    Employees shall take the following steps if a threat or unsafe act does not present an imminent danger to safety:

(1)    Notify their supervisor as soon as possible; and

(2)    Complete a County incident report form (Risk Incident Report Form) which can be found on the Finance intranet website.

3.    Employees who obtain a protective or restraining order which lists County locations as being protected areas or which prohibits contact with the employee while at work, shall immediately advise their supervisor, department director or management representative and provide a copy of the granted order and a description of the person identified in the order.

4.    Report concerns about their personal safety or violations of County policy that may impact employee safety to their supervisor, manager or department director.

5.    Immediately notify their supervisor, manager or department director if they have reason to believe they may become a victim of an unsafe act and/or an act of violence in the workplace or where verbal threats of physical violence against the employee have been made.

Under no circumstances should employees put themselves at risk in a dangerous situation. Once the situation has been secured by proper authorities, employees shall then cooperate with supervisors, investigators, law enforcement personnel and any others as they conduct follow-up reviews of the incident.

B.    Department Directors, Managers and Supervisors' Responsibilities:

1.    Provide this policy and educational opportunities to their employees about workplace safety and violence prevention and make workplace safety and violence prevention training and education programs available to all employees.

2.    Immediately notify the Finance Department (798-7462), the Human Resources Department (798-7480) and their appropriate director of any incidents involving unsafe acts and/or acts of violence.

3.    Notify the Pierce County Security Operations Center. The number can be found on the Facilities Department internal website under Security Management/Personal Security. The Security Operations Center number is located under Contact Information.

4.    Address employee workplace safety concerns and ensure that such concerns are investigated. Safety concerns, and any other situation where an employee has been subjected to or threatened with an unsafe act and/or an act of violence, should be reported to the Human Resources Deputy Director, Labor Relations Manager or Human Resources Deputy Director.

5.    Take immediate steps to diffuse or mitigate any situation that has potential to escalate into an unsafe act and/or an act of violence.

6.    Forward a copy of the protective or restraining order to the Human Resources Department.

7.    Notify appropriate law enforcement agencies about persons who violate a granted protective or restraining order and require the violator to leave the premises immediately.

C.    Human Resources Department Responsibilities:

1.    Promulgate procedures and forms for reporting, assessing and investigating all alleged unsafe acts and/or acts of workplace violence as may be appropriate.

2.    Provide or make available appropriate training and education about workplace safety and violence prevention, how to identify potentially unsafe acts and/or violent situations, and how to deal with them.

3.    Maintain confidentiality of complaints and concerns to the extent allowed by law.

4.    Receive and, in conjunction with the Finance Department, investigate all reports of unsafe acts and/or acts of workplace violence, or threats of the same, made by a County employee.

5.    Recommend to the Appointing Authority what, if any, administrative or disciplinary action should be taken when an employee is found to have committed an unsafe act and/or an act of violence.

6.    Upon completion of any investigation, notify employees affected by the unsafe act and/or act of violence or threat of the same that the matter has been concluded and that appropriate action has or will be taken.

D.    Finance Department Responsibilities:

1.    Receive and, in conjunction with the Human Resources Department, investigate all reports of unsafe acts and/or workplace violence or threats of the same made by a member of the public.

2.    Report the results of the investigation to the Human Resources Director, the department director, and appropriate law enforcement or other official.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2016-84 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2004-7s § 2 (part), 2004; Ord. 2002-15 § 1 (part), 2002)

3.15.040 Dissemination of Policy.

A.    This policy shall be distributed to all current employees, shall be provided to members of the public on request and without a charge, and to all new County employees at orientation.

B.    The Human Resources Department shall prepare and disseminate for permanent posting on employee bulletin boards, a summary of this policy and reporting requirements.

C.    The Human Resources Department shall develop an employee training program designed to inform and orient persons working for Pierce County on this policy including means and measures for protecting themselves and co-workers against unsafe acts and/or workplace violence.

D.    Department directors and/or supervisors shall make available a copy of this policy to all persons working in their area including interns, contractors, extra-hires, volunteers, work study students, employees of temporary employment services and all others performing work for Pierce County and, when the need arises, discuss the policy with all persons performing work for Pierce County including the above and all regular employees.

E.    A copy of this policy shall be made available upon request to all employees by each manager, supervisor and/or the Human Resources Department.

(Ord. 2008-106s § 1 (part), 2008; Ord. 2004-7s § 2 (part), 2004; Ord. 2002-15 § 1 (part), 2002)