Are you serious, It Doesn’t Affect You?
50% of all employees, approx. 70 million, are affected by workplace violence (WPV), in one form or another. Worse still is the fact that 10% of employees, approx. 14 million, are assaulted, either verbally or physically, at work and sometimes away from it.
You say those numbers don’t affect you at all because it’s never happened where you work. Besides you and management both agree It Can’t Happen Here, right? Unfortunately, it does, and probably has, happened to you and your company, whether you see it that way or not.
However, if you look at the group that is stereotypically most likely to perpetrate an incident it is a current or former employee and it’s not with a firearm. Take a look on youtube for fight at work and you’ll see hundreds of videos of employees engaged in physical knock down drag outs while at work. That person may be a friend or close acquaintance. And you may be targeted because you’re happy and still working.
More than likely a fatality won’t come from them, but from a significant other, customer, or anyone else who may get loud, obnoxious, and violent inside of your business. And then the incident may be confined to just being verbally abusive or a fist fight, and not likely to be reported on the evening news. Which means it is easily dismissed as nothing important.
There are several reasons that can cause or help to prevent an incident. And while we’re not going into attitudes or warning signs this time… Then there are the economic factors to consider if you don’t want it to affect you. Each act of fatal WPV will cost the company more than $5.6 million per employee on average. If multiple employees are murdered, then the cost can easily rise to an astronomical number https://todays-training.com/2015/04/14/security-contractor-fined-47-million-over-wpv-incident/.
And those numbers don’t reflect the associated economic costs or losses. Overall, it costs American business in excess of $120 billion per year. Here is a small example of what they can, and usually do in any incident, entail:
- Replacing windows, doors, carpet, repairing & painting walls
- Cleaning up blood stains and other bodily fluids if necessary
- Increased security, training, human resources, and associated costs
- Replacing machinery or other instruments
- The cleaning of office space even just the aftermath of minutiae strewn everywhere because of a fight
- Increased insurance costs, and yes your insurance costs will rise regardless of whether you are self-insured or not
- The shutdown of the facility/business for potentially several days or weeks
- The 6 – 8 weeks to get fully back into pre incident productivity
Is that enough to convince you? It can affect your pockets and your ability to provide for your family. And if you are the unfortunate one to be severely injured or murdered… how will the family keep going without your income and livelihood? It probably won’t be easy for them.
WPV is one of those things that every employer dreads yet avoids because they do not know how to deal with it. Or worse they want to ignore the fact and say it can’t happen here. But ignoring it and sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich can do nothing but lead to you getting bit in the butt. It just doesn’t work.
I can guarantee you that there are thousands of personal injury attorneys that would love to get their hands on you while you’re on the witness stand, or in a recorded video deposition, and have you explain why you didn’t do anything to prevent an incident. They can, and usually will, cause you to say that you didn’t have the financial resources or the tired old cliché, it can’t happen here.
In the United States, as our culture continues to move towards a more Me First’ attitude and becoming divided over social, economic, political , and a myriad of other issues, the more likely that WPV will also continue to grow. And with that we have a multitude of mothers, fathers, siblings, wives, husbands, and children will be left without a loved one and wondering what happened since mommy or daddy aren’t coming home.
The number of WPV incidents will continue to grow from the 14 million to who knows how high. And it will come from the reasons and warning signs that exist now. What we as business owners and security professionals need to do are simple;
- We need to learn to recognize the warning signs
- Increase the security of our business in one form or another using a consultant if necessary. I’m not talking about just security ‘guards’, I refer you to the above link.
- Teach the issue of WPV to employees making them responsible for helping to protect themselves
- Work with anyone who can help you prevent an incident
Do you wish to see the children of victims on TV crying about someone they loved? Then asking the question why isn’t mommy or daddy coming home anymore? How would you answer, as a business owner or manager, those crying children when they ask you why you let it happen or why? Do you really want to say that you were short sighted and didn’t have the financial resources to do anything? If you don’t prepare then you may want to have some of those answers ready for the reporters.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 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