Summoning immediate assistance
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The OHSA requires school boards to develop and include measures and procedures in the workplace violence program to summon immediate assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur. The measures and procedures must be implemented in each of the school board’s workplaces.
In some school boards, schools use a personal announcement (P.A.) system or walkie-talkie system to summon immediate assistance.
Measures and procedures to summon immediate assistance need to be appropriate to the specific circumstances. For example, a different means of summoning assistance may be required while on a field trip than when in a school classroom. There may be a need to use a communication device such as a cell phone that will work in the field trip environment and for workers to have emergency telephone numbers readily available and instruction on how to operate the device, as needed.
School boards should consult with the JHSC, MJHSC or health and safety representative and workers to develop measures and procedures for summoning immediate assistance specific to their work environment.
To learn more about the requirements for summoning immediate assistance refer to the OHSA s. 32.0.2(2) (a) and (b).
School boards must ensure that the measures and procedures for summoning immediate assistance are reliable and effective at all times and should consider how they align with existing protocols such as the Provincial Model for a Local Police/School Board Protocol. The Protocol includes policies regarding bomb-threat procedures and lockdown procedures, and information on threat awareness/management. It reflects a focus on the importance of implementing violence prevention strategies to create and maintain safe and healthy schools. The Protocol also lists the types of incidents that require mandatory reporting to police and those for which reporting is discretionary.
All workers who are responding to the need for immediate assistance must be aware of their roles and responsibilities and must have received information and instruction to respond safely. For example, some school boards use a behaviour response team or buddy system to respond.