Nova Scotians are being asked to comment on workplace violence prevention codes of practice for three specific workplace sectors. Retail stores, gas outlets, and taxi services all share similar violence risks. The codes were developed by the Department of Environment and Labour’s occupational health and safety division so that these businesses can adopt ready-made guidelines that fulfil their obligation to have a violence prevention plan in place by April 1, 2008. “Employers that are subject to Nova Scotia’s workplace violence prevention regulations have to complete their risk assessments by Oct. 1,” said acting Environment and Labour Minister Brooke Taylor. “Their next step will be to develop a prevention plan, or adopt the applicable Code of Practice — by April.” Mr. Taylor noted that the department has worked to ensure employers are aware of the new regulations since they were passed on April 4. A brochure and sample risk-assessment template was distributed by Canada Post to 28,000 Nova Scotia business addresses in May. “Some employers may not have their assessments ready and I know everyone’s busy,” Mr. Taylor said. “But now is the time to get started. Employers who need more information can call 1-800-9LABOUR (1-800-952-2687) or visit our website.” Employers are not required to submit their assessment, but must have them available for review at the workplace for all staff and for occupational health and safety officer inspections. Employees concerned that their workplace is not in compliance can raise it with their occupational health and safety committee or officer, or call Environment and Labour to ask for assistance. The department hosted a popular series of public information sessions on workplace violence risk assessment this past summer, in partnership with NSCC. More sessions planned for October will focus on the next phase of compliance — development of a prevention plan. Employers looking for more resources or help understanding the issue will find them at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, which offers free e-learning courses about workplace violence awareness and prevention at www.ccohs.ca . Consultation on the new codes of practice will be open until Oct. 26. Comments may be submitted by phone, fax, e-mail or mail. The codes are available at www.gov.ns.ca/enla , or by calling 902-424-8486.