The forgotten destructive aftermath

by todaystrainingblog

The reporter is interviewing people in the aftermath of an event that will be earth shattering. He asks one man for his opinion of what the object, it had landed in a Washington D.C. park, could possibly be. The man answers in a calm, logical, & detached manner to which the reporter is too flustered to ask any more of this spoil sport. He quickly walks away and seeks out someone else who is likely to be more animated or hysterical about the object. This was a scene in the original ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ with Michael Rennie and Patricia O’Neal from 1952.

Now a story that is broadcast a couple of hundred times every year:       The reporter stands in front of a building. He tells the story of a workplace violence (WPV) incident that happened at the business. Days later, after the blood has been cleaned, equipment replaced, productivity slowly resumes, & everyone is somewhat calming down & no more searching for hysterical co-workers, where are the reporters?

This has plagued victims of WPV for years, since becoming mainstream in the mid 80’s. No one, except the families, co-workers, & friends, pays attention to what happens after the investigation is over. But there are many costs that the media won’t cover.

And most everyone, the public, media, or uninformed on WPV, won’t even notice it either, even if they were so inclined to think about it. The forgotten aftermath of a WPV incident is far more expensive than the cost to the business of clean-up, reputation restoration, replacement of equipment, and etc. It can run for a lifetime with nightmares and anxiety.

Those of us in the security field, specifically WPV, will instinctively know these items. But most everyone else who doesn’t perceive much, except the latest fiction of TV, won’t. Even most security professionals won’t know these issues either because they just aren’t associated with them on a daily basis, like cyber security & other security professionals are on their area of expertise.

The aftermath costs are normally forgotten by most people and they need to be reminded occasionally. Not so that the sorrow can be revisited or the horror of losing them but to remind us why we need to have a plan in place. Otherwise it can strike us when we least expect it. And like an ostrich with our heads in the sand with the attitude of it can’t happen here (CHH)…


  1. Economic loss for the families (especially if it was a single parent as in a Domestic Violence (DV) incident

How do you tell a child that you have to move because you can’t afford to live near their school anymore? It would not be easy to do.

  1. Emotional toll on the families

Again, do you want to be the one telling a young child that their mother or father is never coming home again? As heart-breaking, and confusing, as it is for the kids it may be harder on the bearer of bad news.

  1. Economic & emotional loss for employees

For some employees who may be close to the co-worker it will be hard to not look over and see their face across or next to them anymore. For some it could cause traumatic episodes, leading to psychological issues.

  1. Communities

The whole community will feel the loss of an employee. Even more so if this individual was a volunteer for certain programs or groups and did a lot of charity work for non-profits, kids, hospice, or whatever.

  1. Sense of safety that every worker has a right to feel while on the job.

As a kid you experienced the safety & security when your parents told you that there were no monsters under your bed and they checked for you. Then they let you sleep in their bed on stormy nights. Now imagine the monsters standing in front of them every day, reminding them of what may happen?

  1. Work disruption/loss of productivity

A deadly WPV incident will disrupt your work flow no matter what. Even if it’s not fatal your work and productivity will be interrupted. According to some studies it will take 6-8 weeks to get back to full productivity.

  1. Medical and workers compensation claims

Depending on the injuries and wounds, this could very well cost you into the millions. And then of course there are the employees. Even with a Cadillac health insurance plan it could cost them upwards of several hundred thousand dollars.

  1. Litigation

An average lawsuit that is settled over a fatal incident is nearly $6 million. Inadequate security could cost you $1.2 million. And if you look at the findings against U.S. Security Associates last year over an incident in 2010, it was over $45 million for 2 families.


You see that most of those items will never reach the full audience of people who may have watched the incident unfold in rapt fascination. None of the final toll gets reported, except in limited circumstances. But these costs that are directly related to an incident of WPV are real and can last for a lifetime for the families who now have to live without a loved one. Or the victim themselves who may have to live with the horror of being wounded and possibly disabled, both physically & psychologically. Then, like with #5 above, there are the monsters under the bed.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent nearly 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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