Town of Ghent, NY
Columbia County
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[Adopted 4-21-2011 by Res. No. 21; amended in its entirety 2-15-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018]
A. 
The Town of Ghent is committed to the safety and security of its employees. Workplace violence presents a serious occupational safety hazard. Threats, threatening behavior, or acts of violence against employees, visitors, guests, or other individuals by anyone on the Town of Ghent property will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action will be taken, including summoning criminal justice authorities when warranted. All employees are responsible for helping to create an environment of mutual respect, following all policies, procedures, and program requirements, and for assisting in maintaining a safe and secure work environment.
B. 
It is the intent of the Town of Ghent that threats, threatening behavior, and acts of violence against employees, by employees, or by other individuals on Town property, will not be tolerated. The Town of Ghent will take all threats seriously. It is the Town's goal to eliminate violent behavior and the threat of such behavior from all worksites.
C. 
This policy is designed to meet the requirements of NYS Labor Law § 27b. The process of complying with this law included a workplace evaluation that was designed to identify the workplace violence hazards to which our employees could be exposed. Authorized employee representatives will and have been involved in evaluating the physical environment and reviewing incident reports to identify trends in the types of incidents reported, if any, and the effectiveness of the mitigating actions taken.
A. 
The goal of this policy is to promote the safety and well-being of all people in our workplace. All incidents of violence or threatening behavior will be responded to immediately upon notification.
B. 
Violence or threat of violence by or against any employee of the Town of Ghent, or any other person while on Town property, is strictly prohibited. The prohibited action will subject the perpetrator, if an employee, to serious disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination of the employee, and, in all cases, possible criminal prosecution.
C. 
The possession of firearms or dangerous weapons (as defined below) while on Town of Ghent property, or in a Town facility or vehicle, is strictly prohibited. Employees violating this policy may be terminated. The weapons portion of this policy does not apply to law enforcement personnel or other employees that are operating within the normal scope of their duties and using weapons as tools of their profession. Any other employee of the Town of Ghent must provide proof of a valid weapons permit and must have written approval of the Ghent Town Board in order to carry a weapon on the worksite.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DANGEROUS WEAPON
Includes, but is not limited to, any offensive weapon, pistol, revolver, or other firearm, dagger, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, or knife having a blade exceeding five inches in length.
DESIGNATED CONTACT PERSON
Duly elected Town Supervisor.
POSSESSION
Includes, but is not limited to, the presence of a weapon on the employee, lunch box, tool kit, bag, purse, cabinets, office, etc. Weapons transported in vehicles must be legally stored in compliance with the laws of the State of New York.
VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE
May include:
A. 
The use of physical force with the intent to cause harm.
B. 
Acts or threats in any form or manner, which are intended to intimidate, cause fear, or cause harm.
C. 
The act of creating a hostile or intimidating work environment by means of words, actions, or physical contact, which would have the purpose or effect of alarming, insulting, or provoking another person.
D. 
The intentional damage to Town of Ghent owned or personal property, or acts intended to cause such property to fail to operate or to operate improperly.
WORKSITE
Includes all property owned or occupied by the Town of Ghent, as well as Town of Ghent vehicles.
A. 
All Town personnel are responsible for notifying the designated contact person of any violent incidents, threatening behavior, including threats they have witnessed, received, or have been told that another person has witnessed or received.
B. 
Separate the individuals involved. Do not allow a minor altercation to escalate into a more serious situation. If the individuals cannot be separated, dial 911 and contact the designated contact person.
C. 
All Town of Ghent employees are responsible for notifying management of any threats that they have witnessed or received. If it is not practical to notify management, the employee should contact the Town Supervisor. Town of Ghent employees who obtain a restraining order against individuals are strongly encouraged to report the presence of a restraining order to their department head or appropriate Town officer.
In an emergency situation involving actual or potential violence, the first priority is to protect the safety and well-being of persons involved. Because each situation involves unique factors, the following guidelines are intended to provide general guidance. The key elements are safety, report, coordination, and control. The following procedures should be followed when dealing with an angry customer (citizen):
A. 
Attempt to de-escalate the situation as soon as the customer (citizen) shows signs of anxiety. Through verbal and nonverbal skills, attempt to be supportive and helpful.
B. 
If the situation does not de-escalate, then firm but respectful direction must be given.
(1) 
Take away the customer's (citizen's) audience by removing the individual to an area where there is less public involvement in the situation.
(2) 
Allow the person to vent some anger. Be helpful and supportive. Do not presume the customer (citizen) is at fault.
(3) 
Set limits for the customer. Provide the customer with direction by giving clear choices and consequences.
C. 
If the situation continues to escalate and violence or threats of violence occur, immediately dial (911) and report as many details as possible.
D. 
An employee who is involved in, or who witnesses a violent incident, shall immediately notify the pertinent Town officer.
E. 
The pertinent Town officer shall contact the Town Board who shall perform the investigation of the incident, and assist the Town officer in disciplinary action (if necessary).
F. 
If a person enters your place of work using a weapon to carry out a physical attack, remove yourself from the area immediately.
The Workplace Violence Prevention Policy will be reviewed and updated as needed, and whenever modifications or changes are made they will be communicated to employees. Other tools that were utilized during this process included reviewing appropriate documents. The Town will have an ongoing role in the evaluation process, recommending methods to reduce or eliminate the hazards identified during the process and investigating workplace violence incidents or allegations. All employees will participate in annual workplace violence prevention training.