Excuses Preventing Prevention

by todaystrainingblog

That may be oxymoronic to you. But it’s got you thinking now about excuses. And the excuses that I’m talking about are the ones that are directly responsible for people not reporting potential issues with workplace Violence (WPV). There are excuses that employees, and employers, have that prevent the reporting of co-workers, friends, loved ones, & others who may be on the edge.

The main issue you need to know if they are on the edge is if they are acting differently after something has happened. Whether that is at work or in their personal lives, the employer rarely knows. Unless a co-worker trusts management enough to report it. Just because someone is loosening up after a tough time is not necessarily a reason to worry, normally. Only your Threat Assessment Team (TAT) can figure it out.

There are always warning signs before an incident, subtle or not. And always excuses why the person wasn’t reported. I don’t use a lot of research on the incidents I report because I can usually gather enough from media reports, especially a mass shooting. And if I can gather that information from media reports how could everyone around a troubled  Co-worker/student miss the signs?

I believe that the answer is simple. Probably too simple to be accepted by most business owners, managers, & even security professionals, at times. It is our choice to either act upon or ignore the signs. And in most cases the signs are simply ignored and excuses made. There are plenty of excuses to go along with the signs.

Some of the excuses people ignore the signs are below. These are just as ambivalent as ignoring or acting upon them. Here are some that you may see or tell yourself about someone you know, co-worker, or someone a loved one may know. And unfortunately, ignoring them could lead to an injury, verbal or physical, or at worse a fatality;

He was just going through a tough time

He’ll come out of it

He’s not that kind

He would never do something like that.

He’s not capable of doing that.

He’s got problems, who doesn’t?

I don’t want to get him in trouble.

I don’t want to get involved.

It’s not my problem

Why should I care what happens to him?

I hate this place, why should I warn them?

This company needs a wake-up call.

They won’t listen to me.

Should I continue on with the excuses, there are many more excuses for ignoring the signs than these? A lot of them

Come down to the most dangerous attitude that a business can have about WPV. And like WPV it’s just 3 letters, CHH. Of all the attitudes this is the one that will cause the most consternation within the c-suite. I would also place it at the top of the list of attitudes that can get people killed while at, or because of, work.

Employer Excuses:

I don’t have time to talk to them all the time; I’ve got others to coach/motivate/work with

That kinda stuff Can’t Happen Here. We pay & treat them well

We can’t worry about that. Let others company’s come up with answers first before we do anything

I’ll get into trouble for profiling them as trouble-maker

I’ll get into trouble for being a bully & picking on them

I’ll tell HR and let them handle it

They’re a good Joe, they’ll work it out themselves

We need to keep production up so we can’t afford to lose them

If we discipline (suspend or  terminate, it’ll slow down the production

We don’t have time for that crap Lethem work it out themselves


Any of those sound familiar? In my 33 years in the security field I’ve heard every single one of them. Sometimes it worked out. Other times the employee, even a valued one, exploded because of a personal issue that was dogging them. And had been for days, weeks, months, and in several cases years. The company then took action after the lawsuit was filed, and not for a fatal incident.

You may think that excuses are a prime example of a bad company. You may think that all good supervisors, managers, & business owners would see the signs and not perform the attitudes that foster WPV. But many times the signs are so subtle, you really have to know the employee them to realize.

And then again, you can simply make an excuse for it and ignore it. Will it bite you in the butt like a rabid dog or raccoon? More than likely yes. And then you’ll be in deep financial trouble, either from bad publicity, financial expenditures, or the lawsuit forcing you out of business, or all 3.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent nearly 33 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