Security Contractor fined 47 Million over WPV incident
In 2010, at the Kraft Foods plant in North Philadelphia, a former employee walked into the plant and started shooting at her former co-workers. She killed 2 and wounded 1.
Because of this incident, U.S. Security Associates, Inc. of Georgia was found guilty of not properly notifying the proper personnel and doing more to stop the woman from doing damage. These can and should have several ramifications for both the security community at large and those involved in workplace violence (WPV). Here are several reasons why;
1. This takes in the flawed aspect of a simple ‘Observe & Report’ philosophy of both contractors and clients.
2. The idea that security officers need more training in WPV and other crisis management tools is evident
3. Since the supervisor is seen on video running and hiding instead of either radioing or contacting someone else, this also needs to be addressed
4. The fact that the officers called only 911 and no one else, not even management or made an announcement is also troubling. But then, what were their post orders?
Now add to this that the verdict, including punitive damages, of $46.8 MILLION should also wake up all companies who use security services and the contractors who provide them. This award is far in excess of the average award.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, the average award for a death due to WPV, is only $5.6 million and only $1.2 for inadequate security. Then figure the number of employees traumatized by the incident and needing the $30,000 psychological counseling, per employee. Here are a few other col hard statistics that may need repeating;
• $120 BILLION in costs to American business yearly
• 2% of total nonfatal lost work-time injuries are by assault.
• $4.2 billion in costs to American businesses per year in missed days of work and legal costs
• 33%- 66% of employees will leave due to the incident
• $25,000 – $50,000 to replace each employee who leaves
• $50,000 to clean-up and replace office supplies and furniture or more for industrial plants
• 6 – 8 weeks for productivity to get back to 100%
Will these numbers wake up those managers and business owners (or CEO’s) that WPV is a serious issue? I would hope so, but I don’t think it will. And the reasoning is that WPV is still a fairly rare event, when it turns fatal. Only several hundred employees are killed yearly. But if you consider that 15 million employees are assaulted every year, the number grows higher. And lawsuits will result from that number, fatal or not.
Will other juries see this as a reason to begin awarding 8 figure settlements in the future? That is unknown at this point but it should begin to wake up the C-Suite and other ‘bean counters’, that security is vitally needed and money needs to be spent on both increased security and officer training.
And should we think that clients will allow their security providers to twist in the wind and absorb the entire cost of such a large judgement? Again, I sincerely doubt it. And security companies will call upon its insurance, and if the contract is worded correctly, then the client may have to pay at least a share of it. For what you ask?
For not allowing more training and not ensuring that they were trained fully and properly. And that the client gives the officers the right information to complete their duties without people getting wounded or dying. And in many cases the client gives just enough info for the officers to be dangerous and nothing else. Then of course the client blames the officers/company when something like this occurs.
So maybe this will be the impetus for change in the field. Maybe, maybe not. But we can always hope that officers will be more like the protectors they should be and stop with this ridiculous ‘observe & report’ only attitude.
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 field for nearly 32 years, and 24 studying workplace 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 at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany, 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.