Workplace Violence (WPV) still being ignored as a threat

by todaystrainingblog

Despite the innumerable workplace violence (WPV) incidents in 2015, I counted 201 myself, companies still ignore the fact that it can & will occur. Is it me or are people just being an ostrich and hiding their heads in the sand and acting like a 2-year-old?

If you don’t recognize that reference; a 2-year-old will hide their face when something scares them. By hiding their faces, as in playing peek-a-boo or hide & go seek, they believe that no one can see them because they themselves can’t see the scary thing or person playing with them. Adults do it as well with scary movies. And business owners & managers do it also, figuratively, when it comes to WPV.

In 2005, a decade ago, more than 80% of companies stated that WPV was not that important and didn’t have a plan. And even after an incident they didn’t update their plans for an event? Not to say that their plans were flawed but…

Let me ask you this? Do you not evaluate every single aspect of a plan, or new product rollout, after it’s done. Whether there were problems or not? And do you not then make little tweaks on the plan or next rollout to ensure its success?

Then why didn’t businesses do that with their WPV prevention plans? Because they still have a CHH attitude which can, and more than likely, kill them, their business, or their employees. Subsequently, they’ll end up on the evening news, or national, with a ton of bad publicity and extra expenditures of financial resources.

They will experience insurance increases, especially if they didn’t anticipate the event when they should have, clean-up of offices or manufacturing space, counseling-both grief & therapeutic, and of course regaining their reputation. Lastly, they need to worry about hiring new employees if the incident was fatal and even worse if it was multiple fatalities.

In 2004 the University of South Florida released their survey on WPV. They basically re-defined what WPV actually was. They said in their report that WPV is much more prevalent than we think it is and the government tracks. More than 15 million incidents a year occur in the United States.

When I had my own company a few years ago I attempted to talk to a business about WPV. Being blind at that time it was simple consulting and training is what I concentrated on. The business owner basically told me that “We don’t need that security training nonsense! We don’t have any problems like that. We treat our employees very well. And none, I mean none, of them would ever do anything like that to any of us. We’re like family here.”

2 days later I learned that another consultant here in the Phoenix area was awarded a contract for both consulting & training. The company had had an incident a week before I was there. Was it because I was blind? Maybe the other consultant was a friend or business associate? Maybe I just wasn’t a good salesman? More than likely it was all 3.

But the point is, that the business owner didn’t think about the issue until I talked to him. It’s just unfortunate that I sold it for the other consultant. And that is truly the main point in this post. No, not that I sold it for someone else, but that the owner didn’t even think about it until then.

I have raised this issue with owners, managers, and in this blogs for a long time. And yet it doesn’t seem that they are catching on to the one and only fact in WPV. The human cost of it all. And the cost is high even if it’s not a fatal incident. The human cost goes far beyond just the employee.

Too many time, the business, insurance companies, the media, & innumerable others, usually because of the others, forget about the ancillary damage that WPV causes. The spouses or significant others, parents, children, relatives, & co-workers.  Traumatized because of the incident and the resulting scrutiny.

Despite the fact that we are inundated with WPV incidents every single day of the year, most unreported by the media (if it bleeds it leads mentality) we still ignore it saying that it can’t happen here to my company. And that kind of CHH attitude is what can, and usually does, get people killed, wounded, or psychologically traumatized, including families.

And if you don’t remember, the study conducted by Allied-Barton in 2010 stated that 17% of employees thought their company had no WPV plan. And in the same study 70% of companies actually did not have a plan to deal with an active shooter or WPV. Why is that? It’s been all over the news, internet, & the subject of conversation at innumerable Chamber of Commerce & association meetings. And yet no one ever thinks it can occur to them. I’ll leave you with this quote that I found a few weeks ago; “No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people.” – Thomas E. Perez


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear