Colorado governor signs worker safety order
Associated Press Writer
DENVER – Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has signed an executive order, telling all executive branch agencies he wants a policy to protect state employees from workplace and domestic violence.
Ritter has proclaimed October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
The order signed Wednesday gives state agencies until March to come up with procedures for preventing workplace violence, educating workers and dealing with issues.
Ritter says it has been 10 years since the executive branch has updated its policies, which were not universally applied.
“We want all employees to be safe, to be free of fear and to be confident they will not be victimized at work. We can prevent these senseless acts of violence and harm that falls upon victims, friends, families and coworkers by raising awareness of domestic and workplace violence,” Ritter said.
The governor said the order was designed to prevent violence and was not the result of any recent problems.
He said policies will include increasing awareness and education about workplace violence and informing employees of resources for assistance.
Rich Gonzales, executive director of the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration that oversees the 25,000 executive branch employees, said state workers are under increasing stress because of the economy, furloughs and increased workloads and the state wants to be proactive helping them continue to be productive.
Gonzales said employers once told employees to leave their problems at the door when they came to work.
“That’s absurd,” he said. “People are going to bring those kinds of emotions and those kinds of concerns into the workplace, and I think the state of Colorado is obligated to provide some sensitivity education and have an understanding of what they’re dealing with.”