Can we prevent any of it?
I am constantly bombarded with that question from non-security and security people. Can we prevent any incidence of workplace violence (WPV)? The simple answer is yes and no. Quite an oxymoron, idn’t it? Let me explain.
The answer is yes, we can prevent certain forms of WPV. Those are the ones that actually occur with our employees. From bullying, vandalism, harassment, & assault. And even from customers we can prevent those as well, sometimes.
But on the other hand we can’t prevent many other kinds of WPV. And these far outnumber the ones we can. Here is a small sampling of what we can’t prevent;
Robberies with assault
Arson after hours
Verbal assaults from employees (most of the time) or customers
Domestic abuse from customers against customers
Child abuse by a customer
Random acts i.e. a shotgun blast through a drive thru window for no reason
In this society we live in, free, we can’t protect everyone from everything, especially violence. Therefore, we have to be as protective as we can and take the steps to lessen the impact or possibility of violence occurring in our businesses and offices.
From the stereotypical ‘angry employee’ to the customer who comes in and begins verbally assaulting everyone and everything, we need to have the training, policies, procedures, & people to stop it. And as I said above, there is no way we can prevent everything and all types of violence in our businesses.
But those who are there to protect us, or trained to do so, need to know that you are there to back them up and not down grade or denigrate what they do. If they are in the right, no matter how asinine it may seem, we need to back them up. If they’re wrong, then it’ll be rectified by management (or at least we hope so anyway).
And as far as whether an incident can be prevented, we need to look at other possibilities for responsibility other than just the security people. From those making the policies/procedures i.e. human resources & the c-suite, to the individual managers in charge of their people ignoring warning signs of someone who may turn out to be violent.
Again, the answer to ‘Can we prevent any of it’ is simple. Yes & no. It just depends on which facet of WPV we encounter in the course of the day.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace 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 23 studying workplace violence issues.
His latest book ‘one is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace violence is available for numerous e-book formats. It helps all organizations to reduce their risk and limit their liability of an incident. And it does this by breaking the rules in several ways, as well as following conventional wisdom in others.
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 at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page (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.