Unexpected violence in the workplace the new reality
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Unexpected Violence in the Workplace – The New Reality!. Raymond C. Ferrara, CPP, CFE, MBCI, CBM, M.S.Ed. Objectives. Raise awareness List prevention strategies Look at legal issues Identify documentation requirements. Convert your new expertise into action. Statistics.

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Unexpected violence in the workplace the new reality
Unexpected Violence in the Workplace – The New Reality!

Raymond C. Ferrara, CPP, CFE, MBCI, CBM, M.S.Ed


  • Raise awareness

  • List prevention strategies

  • Look at legal issues

  • Identify documentation requirements.

  • Convert your new expertise into action


  • Approximately 2 million people in the United States are victims of workplace violence each year

  • In an average week in United States workplaces, one employee is killed and at least 25 are seriously injured in violent assaults by current or former coworkers

  • Workplace violence accounts for nearly 16% of all work-related fatal occupational injuries.

  • The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics lists homicide as one of the top four leading causes of death within the workplace

  • Homicide is the 2nd leading cause of job-related deaths for women


  • Approximately 68 percent of employers have written policies addressing workplace violence

  • Approximately 79 percent of employers regulate and/or prevent weapons on company premises

  • Workplace violence costs a lot more to worry about than attorney fees

    • U.S. businesses about $4.2 billion annually

    • American companies pay over 1,700,000 sick days annually due to lost time resulting directly from workplace violence

Healthcare stats
Healthcare Stats

  • The healthcare sector leads all other industries, with 45% of all nonfatal assaults against workers resulting in lost work days in the US. (BLS, 2006)

  • In 2009 there were 2,050 assaults and violent acts reported by RNs requiring an average of 4 days away from work (BLS, Private Industry, State and Local Government, 2011)

What is workplace violence
What is Workplace Violence?

  • Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting.

  • According to the FBI, “WPV includes:

    Homicide, physical assault, domestic violence, stalking, threats, harassment, bullying, emotional abuse, intimidation, and other forms of conduct that create anxiety, fear, and a climate of distrust in the workplace.

What is workplace violence cont d
What is Workplace Violence? Cont’d…

A workplace may be any location either permanent

or temporary where an Associate performs any

work-related duty.

  • This includes, but is not limited to,

    the building and the surrounding perimeters,

    including the parking lots, field location,

    customers’ job sites, and traveling to and

    from work assignments.

According to shrm
According to SHRM

  • Workplace violence: Assaults and other violent acts or threats that occur in or are related to the workplace and entail a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to individuals or damage to company resources or capabilities.

  • Workplace violence may involve employees, clients and vendors of the affected organization as well as those who do not have a relationship with the organization but who may know the intended victims.

Types of wpv and preventative strategies
Types of WPV and Preventative Strategies

Type I:

  • Violent acts by criminals who have no connection with the workplace, but enter to commit robbery or another crime

  • Most Common Victims:

    • Bank runs, second/third shift workers

  • Preventative Strategies:

    • Emphasis on physical security measures, special employer policies, and Associate training (Physical Security Assessment, camera, panic alarms, hold-up procedures)

Types of wpv and preventative strategies1
Types of WPV and Preventative Strategies

Type II:

Violence directed at Associates/employees by customers or vendors

  • Most Common Victims:

    • Counter sales, showroom consultants, and drivers

  • Preventative Strategies:

    • Policy, procedures, awareness training

Types of wpv and preventative strategies2
Types of WPV and Preventative Strategies

Type III:

Violence against coworkers, supervisors, or managers by a present or former associate/employee

  • Most Common Victims:

    • Any Associate/employee

  • Preventative Strategies:

    • Policy, procedures, training, assessment, observable behaviors

Types of wpv and preventative strategies3
Types of WPV and Preventative Strategies

Type IV:

Violence committed in the workplace by someone who does not work there, but has a personal relationship with an associate/employee

  • An abusive spouse or domestic partner

  • Most Common Victims:

    • Any Associate/employee

  • Preventative Strategies:

    • Policy, procedures, training, security department awareness

  • Other types of wpv
    Other Types of WPV:

    • Property-Directed

      • Associate damaging company property or reputation

    • Terroristic violence against a targeted company and its associates

    • Gang-related violence

    Examples of wpv
    Examples of WPV

    • Making false, malicious or unfounded statements against coworkers, supervisors, or subordinates which tend to damage their reputations or undermine their authority

    • Inappropriate remarks, such as making delusional statements

    • Fascination with guns or other weapons, bringing weapons into the workplace


    Examples of wpv1
    Examples of WPV

    • Verbal harassment; abusive or offensive language, gestures or other discourteous conduct towards supervisors, fellow Associates, or customers

    • Disorderly conduct, such as shouting, throwing or pushing objects, punching walls, and slamming doors

    Examples of wpv2
    Examples of WPV

    • Verbal threats to inflict bodily harm; including vague or covert threats

    • Attempting to cause physical harm; striking, pushing and other aggressive physical acts against another person

    Actual threats
    Actual Threats

    • Do not minimize actual statements or threats made by the individual

    • Take them at their word or action and respond appropriately. Contact your Human Resources or Security Department, if you have one. If serious, contact law enforcement immediately.

    • Document the threat.

    Potential results of wpv
    Potential Results of WPV

    • Workplace violence damages…

      • Trust

      • Community

      • Sense of security

    • Every Associate/employee has a right to feel safe and secure while on the job

    Violence in the workplace


    Physical Assaults

    Verbal Threats

    Intimidation & Harassment

    Hassles & High Maintenance

    Violence in the Workplace









    Continuum of workplace violence



    Continuum of Workplace Violence




    Legal duties and obligations
    Legal Duties and Obligations

    • OSHA General Duty clause, Workers’ Comp and Civil Rights laws require:

      • The employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard.

      • Employers responsible for job-related injuries.

      • Protection from harassment, threats, and violence.

    Legal duties and obligations1
    Legal Duties and Obligations

    If NO action is taken to

    avert preventable

    violence, the victim may

    sue the employer under

    such claims as

    negligence, workers’

    comp, and OSHA.

    Legal duties and obligations zero incidents trumps zero tolerance
    Legal Duties and ObligationsZero Incidents Trumps Zero Tolerance

    But if action is taken to

    avert preventable violence,

    the accused may sue the

    employer for such claims

    as discrimination, invasion

    of privacy, false

    imprisonment, wrongful

    discharge, defamation.

    Interdisciplinary response to wpv
    Interdisciplinary Response to WPV

    • There needs to be written policies that address threats, violence, harassment, drug and alcohol use, and weapons.

      • Physical Security Surveys

      • Threat Assessment Teams (HR, Risk, Legal, Security

      • Safety, Facilities Management)

      • Outside resources (Operational Psychologists,

      • Executive Protection Specialists)

      • Trained Threat Management Teams

      • Threat Assessment

    Evaluating current prevention and intervention practices
    Evaluating Current Prevention and Intervention Practices

    • Does your organization have protocols in place to manage workplace emergencies?

    • Does your organization identify clear lines of workplace behavior?

    • Does your workplace encourage employees to report circumstances of concern?

    • Are employees aware and trained about policies or programs related to workplace violence?

    Evaluating current prevention and intervention practices1
    Evaluating Current Prevention and Intervention Practices

    Does your organization have the following:

    • Anti-harassment and discrimination policy?

    • Substance abuse policy?

    • Code of business conduct/ethics policy?

    • Electronic communication policy?

    • Inspection policy establishing employer’s right to access employee’s workplace computer, desk, locker, other items and premises as may be necessary and appropriate during an investigation?

    Wpv threat assessment survey recommendations for workplace violence prevention programs
    WPV Threat Assessment SurveyRecommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs

    • For a sample threat assessment survey, go to www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3153.pdf

      or www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3148.pdf

    Physical security assessment
    Physical Security Assessment

    According to ASIS, a physical security risk assessment could include the following items:

    • Documenting law enforcement, fire department and hospital locations and contact information.

    • Documenting contacts for security staff in nearby facilities.

    • Documenting other building tenants.

    • Securing all building entrances after hours, and arming alarm systems.

    Physical security assessment1
    Physical Security Assessment

    • Securing dock/shipping areas at all times.

    • Making sure all entrances, parking lots and grounds are well-lit.

    • Securing doors and windows so they cannot be easily opened or removed.

    • Actively monitoring video cameras during business hours and ensuring that cameras cover all entrances, exits and parking areas.

    Physical security assessment2
    Physical Security Assessment

    • Functioning adequate access control system

    • Implementing commercial-grade security locks

    • Doing an inventory of electronic key cards, to ensure they are returned by exiting employees, and deactivating cards immediately after workers leave the organization or lose their card

    • Tracking and auditing employees’ keys

    Risk factors and early warning signs
    Risk Factors and Early Warning Signs

    • Moral righteousness (“I’ve been wronged”)

    • Can’t (or won’t) take criticism; does nothing wrong

    • Homicidal or suicidal comments or threats

    • Holds a grudge, especially against management

    • Expresses desperation over work or family

    • Has history of violent behavior (on or off job)

    • Fascinated with incidents of workplace violence

    • Intimidating and/or harassing behavior

    More risk factors and early warning signs
    More Risk Factors and Early Warning Signs

    • Carrying or displaying work tools as weapons

    • Threats of harm (direct or veiled)

    • Paranoia (“They’re out to get me”)

    • Excessive drug or alcohol use

    • Experiencing legal problems

    • Ignores co-worker safety

    • Outbursts of anger

    • What’s your “gut” telling you?

    Threat risk screening
    Threat Risk Screening

    Fact finding verification

    • Confirm the statements leading to the threat

    • Current and former supervisors

    • Background check refresh

    • HR files

    Threat risk screening1
    Threat Risk Screening

    • Motivating factors for the action or statements

    • What was communicated – Hunter or Howler

    • Violence interest, weapons, group affiliation

    • Has the individual engaged in planning an act

    • Conducted site surveillance, target harassing, breaching, stalking

    • History of mental illness or substance abuse

    Threat risk screening2
    Threat Risk Screening

    Has the individual exhibited symptom:

    • Paranoia, delusional ideas

    • Extreme agitation

    • Suicidal tendencies

    • Acted out on beliefs

    Threat risk screening3
    Threat Risk Screening

    Does the individual blame others or exhibit a strong sense of entitlement, defensiveness, intolerance of others

    Is the individual experiencing strong life stressors

    • Financial, divorce, custody disputes, loss of status, death in the family (human factors)

    Threat risk screening4
    Threat Risk Screening

    What is the individual’s known history

    • Conflict

    • Violence

    • Criminal conduct (domestic or substance abuse)

    Threat risk screening5
    Threat Risk Screening

    • Does the individual have critical emotional anchors (family)

    • Has the individual expressed genuine remorse

    • Has the individual responded positively to defusing efforts

    • Has the individual engaged in problem solving and sought professional treatment

    Lone worker safety
    Lone Worker Safety

    “Someone who works by themselves without close or direct supervision.”

    “Lone working should carry no more risk than normal working, but managers must recognize that risks to lone workers are greater because there is a reduced level of immediate support available.”

    Lone worker safety2
    Lone Worker Safety

    Situational Awareness:

    • is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information immediately confronting you. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you. Are you prepared to respond to these critical pieces of information?

    Lone worker safety3
    Lone Worker Safety

    • Eliminate lone working if possible

    • Implement control measures to reduce risk

    • Train staff members in methods of safe lone working

    • Monitor the situation to ensure the risk reduction methods work

    The receptionist
    The Receptionist

    • Identify and resolve security vulnerabilities in the front desk and reception area

    • Develop procedures and policies to maintain a secure front desk area and facility

    • Recognize at-risk and threatening behaviors of irate customers and visitors

    The receptionist1
    The Receptionist

    • Identify common tactics that distract front desk personnel from dangerous, criminal actions

    • De-escalate hostile individuals and manage hostile encounters

    • Interact with aggressive customers and visitors

    Domestic violence in the workplace
    Domestic Violence in the Workplace

    • Harassing Phone calls

    • Stalking

    • Unauthorized entry

    • Protective Orders

    • No Trespassing notice

    • Criminal records research

    Active shooter myths realities
    Active ShooterMyths & Realities

    • Myths

      • No one knew

      • Never saw it coming

      • He just snapped

    • Realities

      • Erratic or abnormal behavior is a warning sign of possible future violence.

      • Warnings can be through comments, feelings, or thoughts.

      • There are flags along the path to violence.

    The faces of active shooters
    The Faces of Active Shooters


    Patrick Sherrill

    Killed 14

    Wounded 6


    Charles Whitman

    Killed 14

    Wounded 32


    James E. Holmes


    Adam Lanza


    Aaron Alexis

    Killed 12

    Wounded 58

    Killed 27

    Wounded 2


    Doug Williams

    Killed 6

    Wounded 9

    Killed 12

    Wounded 8


    George Hennard

    Killed 23

    Wounded 20


    Christopher Dorner


    John Zawahri


    Jared Lee Loughner

    Killed 6

    Wounded 12

    Killed 4

    Wounded 3

    Killed 4

    Injured 5


    Seung-Hui Cho

    Killed 32

    Wounded 25


    Dylan Klebold

    Eric Harris

    Killed 13

    Wounded 21


    Nidal Malik Hasan

    Killed 13

    Wounded 32


    Robert A. Hawkins

    Killed 9

    Wounded 4


    William D. Baker

    Killed 5

    Wounded 4

    Active shooter response
    Active Shooter Response

    • Seek secure area

    • Calm, reassure, and quiet others

    • Report the incident

    • Treat the injured

    • Law enforcement response:

      • Objective is to neutralize threat

      • Evacuation

      • Follow-up medical care, interview, counseling

      • Investigation

    Active shooter training
    Active Shooter Training

    Run – Hide – Fight


    Practical advice
    Practical Advice

    • Support victims of WPV and domestic violence

      • Don’t punish them

    • Adopt and practice fair and consistent disciplinary procedures for violators

    • Build a workplace climate of trust and respect

    • At the first sign of WPV, have your established protocol ready. CONTACT YOUR THREAT MANAGEMENT TEAM. If necessary, contact law enforcement.

    Understanding employer contributions to wpv
    Understanding Employer Contributions to WPV

    • Understaffing

    • Poorly defined job responsibilities

    • Downsizing and re-organization

    • Poor labor-management relations

    • Negative management styles

      • Arbitrary orders, micro-managing, public reprimands, inconsistent discipline

    • Inadequate security

    • Lack of Associate counseling

    • Lax safety standards – high injury rate

    • Not addressing Associate grievances

    Hiring practices
    Hiring Practices

    • What your Risk/Human Resources Department can do to assist:

      • Pre-employment screening

      • Review histories of drug or alcohol abuse

      • Past work conflicts

      • Criminal convictions

  • What you should do:

    • The Interview

      • Defensive hostile attitude?

      • Frequent job changes?

      • Blames others for problems?

  • Managers responsibilities
    Managers’ Responsibilities

    • Demonstrate the workplace culture and climate

    • Do not tolerate horseplay, bullying, intimidation, lack of trust

    • Prevent high levels of stress, frustration, and anger

    • Prevent poor communication

    • Team approach for response

    Employees should understand
    Employees Should Understand:

    • Policy and procedure

      • Medical care, counseling, workers’ comp, legal assistance, PTSD, Corporate Chaplain Program, EAP

    • Risk factors and warning signs

    • Prevention and defusing techniques

    • Cultural diversity

    • Action and assistance plans

    • Personal protection

      • Buddy system, night escort

    • Reporting and record keeping

    Employees should understand1
    Employees Should Understand:

    A safe way to anonymously report a crime, or potential crime, without fear of reprisal

    Response recommendations
    Response Recommendations

    Remember the “Three R’s”:

    Red Flags




    Response recommendations1
    Response Recommendations

    First “R”:

    Red Flags

    Recognize a potential

    problem for what it is – a

    potential problem!

    You don’t need to be a

    a work prevention expert

    to figure it out. That’s why

    you’ve got…

    Response recommendations2
    Response Recommendations

    Second “R”:


    “Who ya gonna call?”

    Human Resources



    Employment Practices

    Employee Assistance Program


    Social Service agencies

    Law enforcement

    Response recommendations3
    Response Recommendations

    Third “R”:


    Once we identify the problem (red flag) and consult with the right people (resources), it’s time to “fix it and make it better” (recovery).

    To prevent wpv go loco
    To Prevent WPV --- Go LOCO


    Listen to employees

    Observe employees

    Compare notes with colleagues

    Obtain help

    Unexpected violence in the workplace the new reality

    Now That We’ve Just Traveled Down the Road Leading to the

    Prevention of Workplace Violence…

    Let s revisit our objectives
    Let’s Revisit our Objectives

    • Raised awareness

    • Listed prevention strategies

    • Looked at legal issues

    • Identified documentation requirements

      NOW, it’s time for YOU to…

      Convert your new expertise into action!







    Healthcare resources
    Healthcare Resources




    Healthcare resources1
    Healthcare Resources




    Why this is important
    Why this is important

    Pelham, Alabama

    That s it
    That’s It!

    Raymond C. Ferrara, CPP, CFE, MBCI, CBM, M.S.Ed