Creating a Threat Assessment Team
(Here is another post on nmy forthcoming book. Thank you for your indulgence here and in the future)
Just as your company has developed policies, procedures, & other such items to combat other less deadly threats in the business, so you must create and do the same for workplace violence (WPV). That one thing is called a Threat Assessment Team or Group – TAT or TAG. And it can’t be something that meets on a non-frequent basis or one that only meets when there is an issue.
Your TAG should be meeting, at least initially, several times a week or month. They have to meet that often in the beginning to ensure that everything that needs to be done is started and is getting done.
Initially, your team has to start with being formed. That responsibility usually falls to one person within the organization in HR or security. But the people on your team must absolutely be ‘team players’. They have to put aside their own departments, squabbles, and issues with others and work together.
Who should be on this team? It should be a cross section of every single department of your company. Not meaning that you need 50 people, but someone from production, security, shipping, the office, HR, and so on. It doesn’t have to be completely all inclusive, but it does require a good representation of the company. If necessary it may be of good sense to include members of your union and/or hourly employees, as long as they put aside their issues with everything.
The first task they face is reviewing everything that has been gathered and put together for both the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and the company’s Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). This should also include the risk assessment and analysis from security and/risk management. The main function here is to question the findings and recommendations until they are satisfied with their results in defining them.
The second hardest responsibility that the team has is to gather and assess all threats and violence from within the business. Even if there are none to speak of, they still need to meet and discuss other such incidents from the surrounding area and industry. This will allow the team to become pro-active in seeing and confronting any potential problems or trends with the company or industry. A good resource for this is the Workplace violence e-report.
Discussing other incidents gives you the foresight or hind-sight – to see what other companies did and didn’t do. It allows you to clearly see what works and what doesn’t or may/may not work for you with some tweaking.
They need to have the authority and the support of senior management in order to pursue and complete their mission. Without this support, they are ‘dead’ in the water’ before they ever get started. Upper management needs to give them support and the authority to act upon something they find amiss.
Again the TAG needs to read, revise, and re-define every single aspect of your CMT, DRP, and other such factors as necessary to ensure that the business is as safe as it can be. This may also mean stepping on the toes of departmental heads and managers. Not trying to upset anyone, but to make the business safer.
Simply put nothing should be left off the table when it comes to the TAT review. Every sacred cow needs to be re-visited and possibly put out to pasture if it’s outdated or not plausible anymore. No matter how much it’s liked or utilized!
From security to shipping to office visitors to delivery people everything has to be analyzed. One question they can ask themselves during the initial phase of the group is simple and at the same time hard to answer. And no matter how trivial it needs to be brought up and discussed.
How could a non-employee gain access to the business to do harm? Secondly, how could an employee gain access for the same reason? Lastly, they need to think like a person who wants to get in and do harm. Think like a criminal or someone upset enough to come in and create chaos and mayhem.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace/school violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 22 studying workplace/school violence issues.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him through his Facebook page at One is too Many. Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.