Defining what WPV is?
December 22, 2013
Defining what WPV is?
To most people, this would simply mean that someone walks into the business and starts shooting and killing co-workers. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to put this issue into a hole. And just unfortunately, it’s not as easily understood or recognized by people,, much less those who should understand it the most – business owners, managers, and even security professionals.
Workplace Violence (WPV) takes many forms within the business as well as outside the business. I realize that this may be a concept that most people aren’t familiar with, so let me elaborate upon the kinds of violence within businesses and how they constitute WPV
Where it occurs
WPV, as I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me trumpet, can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time, for any reason. This means that it can happen both at and away from the business! An example is this incident that occurred in Phoenix in August of 2012;
2 employees of a school district had been arguing for months and nearly coming to blows while at work. One co-worker went to the other’s home and dropped off several pipe bombs in the driveway. Fortunately, neither went off effectively and no one was injured. This shows that if something occurs because it started at work, then it is WPV.
What Constitutes WPV
So the question now comes to what actually constitutes WPV. Again, the perception, from practically everyone you ask, is that it only occurs when an employee brings a firearm into the business and begins seeking retribution & revenge upon those who ‘wronged him/her’. That is not even close to the magnitude of what actually entails the many facets of it.
WPV, even in its narrowest form, takes in ANY event that could possibly lead to or incite violence within the workplace. In other words, look at these and think about whether or not they could either cause or cause someone else to commit violence in some form or another;
Harassment, of any kind (including sexual)
Threats, from bombs and personal to innumerable others
Bullying, remembering that those being bullied may act like a trapped rat when backed into a corner
Verbal assaults, including dressing downs by supervisors, co-workers or customers/patients
Actual physical assaults, and I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate here
And throwing a pencil at someone because you’re angry – YES
These are a few of the many angles that WPV can and does take within the business. I stated in a post last week that 100% of all businesses have been affected by WPV. If you look at those ways that it can happen you can fully see how it occurs in every business, even one person companies.
Who causes it?
While most publicized incidents of WPV are because of co-workers, the truth is more than 85% of all incidents are because of other crimes. There is some debate on the exact number, but the average is between 75 or 85%.
The other people who cause incidents of WPV are as follows, and I have touched on these before, but to re-fresh your memories;
Patients & students (only 2% but 85% of injuries and lost time)
Supervisors, managers, & owners
WPV is an ever present issue and ghostly specter looming over businesses like a ghoul. Because of the numerous ways it can happen, businesses can lose money in just as many ways as WPV can occur.
Lawsuits from sexual harassment, bullying, threats, verbal assaults from customers and co-workers, and even teasing (both good natured and mean (.
Remember my old stand-by saying from above;
Anywhere – Both on and off the business property
Anyone – Doesn’t matter who you are, you can be a victim even if it’s only a verbal dressing down by an upset customer!
Any time – Fatal incidents of WPV have occurred at all hours of the day and night. From day break safety meetings to quitting times.
Any reason – With the innumerable reasons for mental health, disparate treatment, and all the others pinning it down to just one cause doesn’t work.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention. He has appeared in more than 130 media outlets in the past 30 years of being in the field and 20 studying, writing, and speaking about WPV/SV.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Let him do this for you as well. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or visit the website at;