Thursday October 23 , 2014

Violence In the Workplace

From the headlines...

  • A dishwasher walks into a NY restaurant and fatally shoots a young chef and his father, the restaurant manager.  The shooter was charged with two counts of murder.
  • A disgruntled former employee shoots five, killing two at a truck rental facility.
  • A factory worker, who was suing his employer, shoots and kills three co-workers, injures five others then takes his own life.
  • An Army psychiatrist kills 13 and wounds 30 on a U.S. Army base.
  • 5 fast food workers executed during a robbery are found in the cooler.

Restaurant ViolenceThese are recent violent incidents in the workplace with current and past employees, and one involving an armed robbery.  What lead to this path of death?  Were there any similarities?  Were there any indications that the shooter was capable of killing?  Did the workplace have violence prevention programs in place?

According to the “Preventing Gun Violence in the Workforce” report from ASIS International, more than two million workers in the U.S. are affected by violence in the workplace.   Over 500 of those incidents are homicides.  More than three quarters of workplace homicides involve shootings and two thirds are associated with robbery, with the rest related to conflicts between co-workers, acquaintances or family members.

Experts say that incidents of violence in the workplace are rarely random and may be years in the making.  A pattern of bullying may be the catalyst for violent retaliation by the targeted person.  Stress at home or at work may peak to an explosive response.  A lack of, or inadequate security and safety policies and procedures may expose employees to violent crime.  Although random, senseless acts of violence occur, you can make your site less attractive

Prevent Workplace Violence

Part of the responsibility in preventing violent outbursts rests with management.  Many supervisors have good technical skills, but are not prepared or are reluctant to address employee behavioral issues.  They fail to recognize the signs of instability, bullying or inappropriate behavior.  Many have not had adequate workplace violence training on how to take the appropriate action toward the offending employee.  Poor employee screening and inadequate violence and robbery prevention programs are more common in smaller companies without an HR department.   Fast food restaurants are cash businesses operating late at night, both factors relating to robbery.  Restaurant violence is associated with robbery.  Many fast food (QSR) restaurants do not have strong, ongoing crime prevention programs in place.

Methods to prevent workplace violence, particularly for fast food restaurants, are many and varied.  Comprehensive loss prevention programs contain clear policies and procedures related to hiring, training, security and safety controls, operations, and conduct issues.  Although random, senseless acts of violence occur, you can make your site less attractive to rob by implementing   Consult a professional security consultant such as LossBusters to assess your Workplace Violence and Robbery Prevention programs.  Too often, an organization must experience a tragic, violent event before initiating meaningful actions to prevent or mitigate extreme danger to their employees and customers.  Don’t wait!  Protect your brand! Protect your people!  The costs of violence in the workplace may negatively affect your business in the following ways:

  • Lost work time
  • Loss of sales and profitability
  • Increased medical claims
  • Increase in stress levels
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Turnover
  • High probability of litigation
  • Decrease in employee productivity and performance
  • Negative publicity
  • Brand erosion
  • Diversion of company talent to focus on the incident

Get your employees, customers, and your business out of harm’s way by committing to keep them safer and more secure.  Implement a comprehensive workplace violence and robbery prevention program today!

Complete this free assessment quiz on your workplace violence reduction efforts.