[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Lansing 3-21-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as "Local Law Number 1 of 2007." Local Law Number 1 of 2007 hereby repeals any prior local law or resolution that is inconsistent herewith. Local Law Number 1 of 2007 applies only within those parts of the Town of Lansing, Tompkins County, New York, that are outside of the incorporated Village of Lansing.
The Town Board of the Town of Lansing finds and declares that workplace violence is a serious public health problem that demands attention. During the last decade, homicide was the third leading cause of death for all workers, and the leading cause of occupational death for women workers. Workplace violence presents a serious occupational safety hazard for workers, but many employers and workers may be unaware of the risk. Moreover, the hazards of workplace violence are not currently addressed by any specific federal or state laws. Thus, it is critical to the maintenance of a productive workforce that the Town evaluate its workplaces to determine the risk of violence, and to develop and implement programs to minimize the hazard. Experience has shown that when employers evaluate the safety and health hazards in their workplaces and implement employee protection programs, the incidence of workplace injuries is reduced. The Town, therefore, and further, finds and declares that public health, safety and welfare would be advanced by enactment of a local law requiring the development and implementation of workplace violence protection program.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AUTHORIZED EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATIVE
- Any representative recognized pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, or any representative permitted to participate in employee affairs under law, including, but not limited to, the New York State Civil Service Laws and Labor Laws. References to the participation of any authorized employee representative means that such authorized employee representative shall be given an opportunity to contribute information, assist with analyzing statistics, assist with conducting workplace risk evaluations, and assist with any determinations about, and participate in, incident reviews.
- The New York State Commissioner of Labor.
- EMPLOYEE OR EMPLOYEES
- Any person(s) employed by the Town, including all public officials, appointed officials, department managers, elected officials, and full-time, part-time, intermediate and seasonal employees.
- The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- RETALIATORY ACTION
- The discharge of, suspension of, demotion of, penalization of, or discrimination against any employee, or other adverse employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.
- Any person within the Town's organization who has the authority to direct and control the work performance of any other employee(s), or who has the authority to take corrective action regarding notice(s) about the violation of any law, rule, or regulation.
- THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAM
- A committee appointed by the Town Supervisor that consists of at least three members, one of which shall be a Town Board member, and another of which shall be a person familiar with law or law enforcement, which committee shall be primarily responsible for developing, maintaining, reviewing, improving and updating the Town's Workplace Violence Prevention Program.
- The Town of Lansing, located in the County of Tompkins and State of New York.
- TOWN BOARD
- The Town Board of the Town of Lansing, located in the County of Tompkins and State of New York.
- TOWN SUPERVISOR
- The Supervisor of the Town of Lansing, located in the County of Tompkins and State of New York.
- WORKPLACE or WORKPLACES
- Any location away from an employee's domicile, whether permanent or temporary, where an employee performs any work-related duty in the course of his or her employment by the Town.
- WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
- Any physical assault, threatening behavior, and/or verbal abuse occurring where an employee performs any work-related duty in the course of his or her employment. Workplace violence may occur without one person actually touching, striking, or doing bodily harm to another person, and includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- A. An attempt or threat, whether verbal or physical, to inflict any injury upon another person; or
- B. Any intentional display of force which would give a person reason to fear or expect bodily harm; or
- C. Intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without his or her consent that entails some injury or offensive touching; or
- D. Harassment arising out of or in the course of employment that is of a nature that would give a person reason to fear escalation, or make it difficult to pursue a normal work life or private life; or
- E. Stalking a person with the intent of causing fear or annoyance when such stalking has arisen through or in the course of employment; or
- F. Any act of sexual harassment; or
- G. Any assault or harassment (as defined under the New York Penal Law); or
- H. Any acts of verbal abuse; or
- I. Any unreasonably aggressive behavior(s).
- WORKPLACE VIOLENCE POLICY STATEMENT
- A summary of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program that focuses upon the Town's policies and goals relating to workplace violence, and provides notification as to the alert and notification procedures for employees to follow to report an incident.
- WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM
- A written Town program designed to prevent, minimize and respond to any workplace violence.
The Town shall evaluate its workplaces to determine the presence of factors or situations in such workplaces that might place employees at risk of workplace violence, including, but not limited to, duties that involve:
The exchange of money;
The delivery of passengers, goods, or services;
Mobile workplace assignments;
Working with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social service, or criminal justice settings;
Working alone or in small numbers;
Working late at night or during early morning hours;
Working in high-crime areas;
Guarding valuable property or possessions;
Working in community-based or public settings;
Uncontrolled access to the workplace; and
Areas of previous security problems.
The Town shall appoint a Threat Assessment Team consisting of at least three members, one of which shall be a Town Board Member, and another of which shall be a person familiar with law or law enforcement. The Threat Assessment Team shall perform the evaluation listed in § 77-4, and shall, consistent with this chapter, develop, maintain, review, improve and update the Town's Workplace Violence Prevention Program. The Threat Assessment Team shall examine and assess the vulnerability of Town facilities and employees to workplace violence and reach agreement on preventive actions to be taken. The Threat Assessment Team shall also be responsible for: i) recommending and/or implementing employee training programs on workplace violence; ii) implementing plans for responding to acts of workplace violence; and iii) communicating internally with employees. Threat Assessment Team membership should include i) one or more representatives of the Town with experience in management, operations, security, finance, legal, and human resources, and ii) employees and/or Authorized Employee Representatives. Responsibility for auditing the overall Workplace Violence Prevention Program rests primarily with the Threat Assessment Team.
The Threat Assessment team shall perform a hazard assessment, consisting, at a minimum, of the following reviews:
Records review. The Threat Assessment Team shall review previous incidents of violence to develop a baseline by i) identifying patterns that may indicate the causes and severity of workplace violence incidents, ii) identifying changes necessary to help prevent workplace violence, and iii) developing an appropriate plan to correct these hazards. The Threat Assessment Team should analyze the following, when available, to complete a record review: OSHA 200 logs; incident reports; records of, or information compiled for the recording of, workplace violence incidents and similar events; medical records; insurance and loss records; workers' compensation records; police reports; accident investigations; training records; grievances; complaints about behavior, both by employees and members of the public; and other relevant records or information.
Identify risk. The Threat Assessment Team should identify and analyze any apparent trends in workplace violence incidents relating to particular departments, units, job titles, unit activities, time of day, etc. The Threat Assessment Team should communicate with other municipalities, local businesses, trade associations, and community and civic groups concerning their experiences with workplace violence.
Workplace security analysis. In addition to a records review, the Threat Assessment Team shall inspect the workplace, as well as evaluate the work tasks of employees, to determine the presence of hazards, conditions, operations, and situations which might place workers at risk of workplace violence incidents. The Threat Assessment Team shall conduct follow-up inspections of the workplace and observe hazardous work tasks on a periodic basis.
Workplace surveys. A questionnaire or survey should be distributed to employees to identify the potential for violent incidents and to identify or confirm the need for improved security measures. A sample questionnaire and inspection checklist is available from the Town, and the Threat Assessment Team shall improve such questionnaire and develop additional questions or questionnaires, with input into design, format, and dissemination thereof from employees and/or authorized employee representatives. All employees shall be required to complete the questionnaire(s).
Employee questionnaires. Employee questionnaires shall be reviewed, updated and distributed as needed, or at least once each calendar year. Results should be analyzed and used to revise and improve the overall content and implementation of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program.
Hazard control and prevention. The Threat Assessment Team should identify and institute a combination of control methods designed to eliminate or minimize the risks of workplace violence. These include, but are not limited to: i) general building, work station, and area design, and related security measures; ii) security equipment; iii) work practice controls and procedures; iv) a Workplace Violence Prevention Policy Statement; vi) a review of previous workplace incidents; vii) a review of all logbooks of work-related injuries and illnesses; viii) an examination of employee surveys and conditions that could be contributing to potential incidents; and ix) security and inspection surveys. The Town may implement these control measures alone or in combination to address identified hazards. As part of this analysis, the Threat Assessment Team shall consider the following:
General building, work station and area designs:
Review the design of all new or renovated facilities to ensure safe and secure conditions for employees; and
Ensure that facilities are designed to ensure, where appropriate or required, the privacy of citizens and employees, and their communications and information; and
Ensure that employees can communicate with other staff in emergency situations, including, where appropriate, by clear partitions, video cameras, speakers, telephones, panic buttons, alarms, etc., as appropriate; and
Design work areas and arrange furniture to prevent entrapment of the employees and/or minimize potential for workplace violence incidents; and
Control access to employee work areas, such as, where appropriate, through the use of locked doors, buzzers, card access, etc.; and
Provide appropriate lighting systems for all indoor building areas, as well as grounds around the facility and parking areas. Lighting should meet the requirements of nationally recognized standards, such as ANSI A-85, ANSI/IES RP-7 1983, ANSI/IES RP-1 1993, as well as local building codes.
Security devices and systems. Security should not conflict with life safety code requirements. Egress from inside the building must not be impeded.
Security devices and features should consider utilizing:
Electronic alarm systems activated visually or audibly, which such systems should identify the location of the room or location of the employee by means of an alarm sound and/or a lighted indicator or equally effective measure;
Utilizing closed-circuit television which permits the monitoring of high risk areas, both inside and outside the building;
Metal detection systems to identify persons with weapons;
Cellular telephones, beepers, CB radios or hand-held alarms or noise devices in field situations; and
Adequate personnel must be available to render prompt assistance; and
Security equipment and systems should be examined and maintained on a regular basis to ensure effectiveness.
Work practice controls and procedures:
Provide identification cards for all employees and require that they be worn; and
Establish sign-in and sign-out books; and
Establish an escort policy for non-employees; and
Base staffing considerations on safety and security assessments for both fixed site and field locations; and
Develop internal communication systems to respond to emergencies; and
Develop policies on how to deal with emergency or hostage situations; and
Develop and implement security procedures for:
Develop written procedures for employees to follow for any locations where they feel threatened or unsafe; and
Provide information and give assistance to employees who are victims of workplace violence or domestic violence, and develop procedures to ensure confidentiality and safety for such affected employees; and
Train employees on awareness, avoidance, and actions to take to evade or prevent incidents of workplace violence, mugging, robbery, rapes and other assaults; and
Modify existing work practices and procedures that expose employees to an increased risk of workplace violence.
The Workplace Violence Prevention Program and the Workplace Violence Policy Statement should be easily accessible to all employees. Copies should be made available to employees upon request. The Town, through the Threat Assessment Team, shall develop, approve, and implement a written Workplace Violence Prevention Program for its workplaces that includes, at a minimum, the following:
A list of the risk factors and hazards present in the workplace;
An identification of the methods the Town will use to help prevent incidents of workplace violence, including, but not limited to:
Making high-risk areas more visible to more people;
Installing good external lighting;
Using drop safes or other methods to minimize cash on hand;
Posting signs stating that limited cash is on hand;
Providing training in conflict resolution and nonviolent self-defense responses; and
Establishing and implementing reporting systems for incidents of aggressive behavior and workplace violence.
The inclusion of specific provisions for each of the following, all of which shall be and remain i) relevant to the ongoing development, review, and improvement of the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, and ii) part of the Town's elements of a Workplace Violence Prevention Program:
A clearly written company Workplace Violence Policy Statement; and
Conducting employee and Supervisor training and education programs; and
Providing procedures for the reporting of, investigation of, and follow-up upon incidents of aggression and workplace violence, including the regular evaluation and re-evaluation of protocols and procedures, duly taking into account all legal and practical issues of confidentiality; and
Planning, maintaining, and/or budgeting for adequate authority and monetary resources so that identified goals and assigned responsibilities can be met; and
Including and encouraging employee participation in the design and implementation of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program, including participation by authorized employee representatives; and
Refusing to tolerate aggression and workplace violence (a "zero tolerance" program); and
Developing and implementing programs and procedures to reduce risk and incidents of aggression and violence; and
Applying workplace violence policies consistently and fairly to all employees, including Supervisors; and
Requiring prompt and accurate reporting of violent and aggressive incidents, whether or not physical injury has occurred; and
Ensuring anti-discrimination and freedom from retaliatory actions against victims of workplace violence, and those who report incidents and provide witness or evidence in connection therewith.
Procedures requiring a review the Workplace Violence Prevention Program at least annually, and immediately after the occurrence of a workplace violence incident, and, if necessary, the contents of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program shall be updated within a reasonable time after such review is completed.
Evaluate the need for, and procedures for, obtaining crisis counseling for employees after the occurrence of a workplace violence incident. This counseling must be provided by a mental health professional following generally accepted mental health practices, and the procedures shall be developed in conjunction with the input of a qualified a mental health professional.
The Town shall provide its employees with the following information and training on the risks of Workplace Violence in their Workplaces, both at the time of their initial assignment and annually thereafter:
The Workplace Violence Policy Statement goals and objectives shall be posted in a conspicuous location at the place of employment where notices to employees are normally posted; and
Employee training shall include and identify, at a minimum, i) the measures employees can take to protect themselves from such risks, including specific procedures the Town has implemented to protect employees, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, use of security alarms and other devices, and ii) the details of the written Workplace Violence Prevention Program developed by the Town. At a minimum, all employees, regardless of their level of risk, should be taught:
Techniques for recognizing the potential for violence;
Procedures, policies, and work environment arrangements developed to control risk;
Proper use of security hardware;
The appropriate response to incidents of aggression and violence, including emergency and hostage situations;
How to obtain medical assistance and follow-up;
Procedures for reporting, investigating and documenting incidents of aggression and workplace violence;
How to travel safety to, from, and within the workplace; and
Safe cash handling procedures.
Effective training should: i) be given during the workday; ii) use easily understood terminology; iii) be given in languages spoken by the employees; iv) provide sufficient time for questions and answers; v) be conducted by trainers knowledgeable or qualified in their field of expertise; and vi) be conducted before taking a new job assignment, annually, and when laws or procedures change. Employees with job tasks or locations that place them at higher risk for violent incidents should be provided additional specialized training designed to deal with the nature of this risk.
Undergo additional training to enable them to recognize a potentially hazardous situation or to make any necessary changes in the physical plant, staffing, or policy and procedures to address any risk;
Be trained to ensure that employees are not placed in assignments that compromise safety;
Be trained in methods and procedures which will reduce security hazards;
Be trained to behave compassionately towards coworkers when an incident does occur;
Ensure that employees follow safe work practices and receive appropriate training;
Reinforce the Workplace Violence Prevention Program, promote safety and security, and ensure employees receive additional training as the need arises.
Security personnel need to be trained, whenever possible, for the specific job, facility layout, and security hardware in the workplace, and for identified high risk jobs.
Incident reporting. Any employee who is involved in a workplace violence incident, or who is a witness to such incident, shall report such incident immediately to his or her Supervisor or to the Town Supervisor, and follow all procedures for reporting such incidents. Employees shall provide all necessary details (date, time location, witnesses, etc.) regarding the workplace violence incident, including the names (or descriptions) of those involved. Any employee who believes that a violation of the Workplace Violence Protection Program exists, or that an imminent danger of an incident of workplace violence exists, shall immediately bring such matter to the attention of their Supervisor or the Town Supervisor in the form of an oral notice (with a follow-up written notice) and shall afford the Town a reasonable opportunity to investigate and correct such activity, policy, or practice. This written notice requirement shall not apply where an employee reasonably believes in good faith that reporting to a Supervisor or the Town Supervisor would not result in corrective action, but in such case, immediate and prompt notice shall be provided to some other Supervisor of the Town or to the Commissioner.
Prompt action steps. Each reported incident shall be evaluated by the Threat Assessment Team. Once an incident occurs, the Town should:
Report it to the local Police Department;
Secure work areas where disturbances occurred;
Ensure the physical safety of employees and others remaining in the area as soon as possible;
Ensure that no work area is left short-staffed while others assist the victim or help in securing the area;
Quickly assess the work area, if it was disturbed or damaged during an incident, to determine if it is safe; and
Provide critical and confidential incident debriefing to victims, witnesses and other affected employees.
Investigation. After an incident occurs, a detailed fact-finding investigation shall be conducted as soon as possible. When conducting this investigation, the Threat Assessment Team should:
Inspection. When a request for an inspection has been made in a situation where there is an allegation of an imminent danger, such that an employee would be subjected to injury or death, the inspection shall be given the highest priority and shall be carried out immediately. If, following a referral of an incident, and after a reasonable opportunity to correct such activity, policy or practice, the matter has not been resolved and the employee, or authorized employee representative, still believes that a violation of a Workplace Violence Prevention Program requirement remains, or that an imminent danger still exists, such employee, or authorized employee representative, may request an inspection by giving notice to the Town Supervisor or the Commissioner of such violation or danger. Such notice and request shall:
Inspection by Commissioner. If the Commissioner will inspect the workplace:
A copy of the notice and request shall be provided by the Commissioner to the Town Supervisor no later than the time of inspection by the Commissioner, except that, at the request of the person giving such notice, such person's name, and the names of individual employees may be withheld.
A representative of the Town and an authorized employee representative shall be given the opportunity to accompany the Commissioner during an inspection, for the purpose of aiding such inspection. Where there is no authorized employee representative, the Commissioner shall consult with a reasonable number of employees concerning matters of safety in the workplace.
A copy of the Workplace Violence Prevention Program, risk evaluation and determination records, and workplace violence training records will be made available by the Town to the Commissioner at the opening conference of any Department of Labor inspection or consultation. Before releasing this information, the Town may redact any information that is deemed to be confidential or of a secure nature that is not pertinent to the protection of employees from workplace violence risks, such as, but not limited to, employee home or cell telephone numbers, protected security procedures and staffing patterns, building access codes, etc.). The Town may not redact any i) risk factors identified during any risk evaluation and determination that was performed, ii) methods or procedures utilized to prevent workplace violence, or iii) employee training information. Any redacted information shall be made available for review by the Commissioner upon request.
The authority of the Commissioner to inspect any workplaces shall not be limited to the alleged violation contained in such notice. The Commissioner may inspect any other workplace i) for which he or she has reason to believe that a serious violation of this chapter, or any state or federal law, rule, or regulation exists, or ii) pursuant to a general administrative plan for the enforcement of law, including a general schedule of inspections, which provides a rational administrative basis for such inspection.
Within 30 days after the occurrence of a workplace violence incident, the Town shall complete and submit a Workplace Violence Incident Report. This report may be in any format, but must include, at a minimum, the following information: workplace location; the date of incident; the time of the incident; a description of the incident; the names of involved employees; the extent of any injuries; the names of all witnesses; and information on preventative actions that the Town has taken or is considering as a result of the incident to mitigate against further like occurrences. Copies of reports which meet the recording requirements of 12 NYCRR Part 801 shall be forwarded to the nearest Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) District Office. DOSH Form 901 or WCB Form C2, with the required information added, may be utilized for this purpose.
Any workplace violence incident that may be of a criminal or domestic violence nature shall be immediately reported to police authorities in accordance with law. The Town shall also follow New York State Division of Labor, DOSH, and OSHA reporting procedures regarding harassment-type workplace violence incidents.
Neither the Town, nor any Supervisor, may undertake, commit, or promote any retaliatory action against any employee because the employee, in good faith;
Provides any notice of any violation of workplace violence protocols or requirements;
Submits any notice to the Commissioner;
Requests any inspection;
Accompanies the Commissioner or Town Supervisor upon any inspection;
Acts as a complainant or witness to any alleged act of workplace violence, or reports the same; or
Avails himself or herself of any right or remedy afforded under this chapter.
The Town shall develop and maintain an effective recordkeeping system that keeps all records up to date. At a minimum, the following records should be kept: i) an OSHA 200 Log (OSHA and related New York State regulations require the recording of any injury which requires more than first aid, causes loss of consciousness, requires modified duty, or results in lost time from work, and all following listed items must also be recorded in such logbook(s); ii) records of all assaults, aggressive behavior, and incidents of workplace violence; iii) doctors' reports of work injuries; iv) Supervisors' reports; and vi) reports of all fatalities or catastrophes. An employee death resulting from an employment accident or illness caused by or related to a workplace hazard, or the hospitalization (not "examination and release") of three or more employees resulting from an employment accident or illness caused by a workplace hazard must be orally reported to OSHA, DOSH, and the Commissioner by the Town within eight hours. Additionally, 12 NYCRR Part 801, known as the "Pubic Employer Recordkeeping Rule," which is implemented pursuant to § 27-a of the New York State Labor Law, shall be complied with for recording and reporting employee injuries or illnesses due to workplace violence incidents. The Town shall follow all federal, state and local laws and regulations, and shall comply with its own internal procedures, in the reporting of workplace violence incidents. The types of records that shall be kept and preserved by the Town, and utilized by the Threat Assessment Team for periodic or other review, should include records of:
Incidents of assaults and workplace violence, which should describe who was involved, the type of activity (i.e., unprovoked sudden attack), and all other circumstances of the incident. The records should include a description of the location/environment, potential or actual costs, lost time, nature of injuries sustained, etc.; and
Incidents of abuse, verbal attacks or aggressive behavior, even if not resulting in any injury. Any acts of aggression should be recorded even if not threatening to the employee, such as, but not limited to, incidents of pushing, shouting, intimidating behaviors, etc.; and
Minutes of safety meetings and inspection reports that contain findings, corrective actions recommended relative to workplace violence, along with the Town's response and completion dates for action items; and
Training records, which should include dates the training was conducted, the type of training given, the employees trained, etc.; and
Inspection records, which should include dates of inspection, areas inspected, all findings and recommendations, any control measures implemented, etc.; and
Employee questionnaires that assess employee's views of high risk work areas and activities; and
Insurance records; and
Workers' compensation records, but subject to confidentiality and disclosure requirements and limitations; and
Medical records, but subject to confidentiality and disclosure requirements and limitations; and
Police reports; and
Any other record herein required to be kept or maintained, or required to be kept and maintained by any other law, rule, or regulation.
The terms, benefits, and provisions of this chapter may be amended from time to time, in the discretion of the Town Board. Publication of a notice of public hearing pertaining to the amendment of this chapter shall be and be deemed sufficient notice to any affected persons of any amendment hereto.
The provisions of this chapter shall not diminish the rights of employees pursuant to any law, rule, regulation, or collective bargaining agreement. Nothing in this chapter shall change or alter the Town's obligation to comply with workplace safety standards as set forth by the County of Tompkins, the State of New York or the United States, and each of their respective departments and agencies. This chapter is intended to supplement and augment those requirements by regularly providing for and requiring inspections, training, and evaluations of the workplace.
If the provisions of any article, section, subsection, paragraph, subdivision, or clause of this chapter shall be adjudged invalid by a court or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction, such order or judgment shall not affect or invalidate the remainder of any article, section, subsection, paragraph, subdivision or clause of this chapter. Any such invalidity shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or article thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such order or judgment shall have been rendered.