Pink shirt day will move out of the schools and onto the land when staff at a ranch in the Cariboo take an anti-bullying seminar.
“All ranches are required to take the course,” said Liz Twan who along with her husband Bronc manage the Alkali Lake Ranch where the seminar will be held Wednesday.
“When I booked the seminar I knew it was anti-bullying day so I bought pink shirts, pink coffee cups and pink paper plates.”
The seminar is taught by provincial ranch safety consultant Reg Steward, a contractor with the Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA).
Employers and work places are required through WorksafeBC to be educated in the procedure to report bullying in the workplace, understanding what it is and what it is not, Steward told the Tribune.
“It’s become part of the employer’s responsibility to make sure their workers are well-versed in an understanding of what it is to be a bully or be bullied and how to deal with it,” Steward said, adding each employer is required to have a process in place for reports and investigations.
Steward has been presenting the seminar for FARSHA since the fall of 2014 to all sectors of Agriculture throughout the province.
The seminar is made available to any employer in the field.
Seminars are arranged after employers contact him and vice versa.
“Some employers are aware of the requirements,” Steward explained.
“I work with them to effect their health and safety programs and help them be in compliance with the regulation.”
In other cases the training comes as a result of a WorkSafeBC inspection that has identified the need for the seminar.
In his capacity as ranch safety consultant he follows up.
Where there’s an ongoing requirement or need for anti-bullying training, he makes sure there’s a staff member that’s trained with the ability to present the material to other employees.
“I help them design the material and make sure it works for the regulations, compliance and that organization.”
Twan said in this day and age it’s hard to find ranch hands.
“I joked to someone that we wouldn’t dare bully an employee, we couldn’t afford it,” she said.
A new report released by the Conference Board of Canada, calls for employers to adopt proactive strategies to recognize and address increasing levels and the costly impact of workplace bullying.
“Bullying is not just a problem in schools,” said Ruth Wright, director of leadership and human resources with the board. “We’re seeing more instances of bullying in the workplace and employers need to recognize that workplace bullying is happening and that there are costs if the issue is ignored or poorly handled.”
Bullying in the workplace has an impact on the organization as a whole and reflects a negative culture as well as performance and reputation, Wright added.
The report, Workplace Bullying Primer: What Is It and How to Deal With It, examines the issue of bullying in workplaces, the causes, and associated organizational and individual costs.
It suggests that employers, who could be held legally responsible, need to take greater responsibility to address this detrimental behaviour.