Pro-action for addressing risks and reducing them to ALARP (as low as reasonably practical/possible) is what we as Safety Professionals constantly aim to achieve, so why is Workplace Violence so different? We typically gather facts, analyze the data, identify areas of need and then put effort and action into risk reduction plans. We utilize a hierarchy of controls, implement the controls and strive to continually improve upon the plan of action. When it comes to Workplace Violence this sequence of action is no less effective. A team approach both internally and externally is necessary to reduce your risk to your employees, your customers, your organization's reputation, your liability and your peace of mind.
This author has worked with both governments and private industries on this topic. Having facts and implementing solid plans is the key to addressing this menacing issue. Getting organizations to remember and apply best practices in safety management is a challenging but necessary step for all involved to address this destructive emotional and economic drain on our society.
When the topic of Workplace Violence, or on a narrower but more fearful level Active Shooter situations, is discussed the emotional factors and individual reactions is quite interesting. The two topics are different in scope and will be discussed in the presentation. It is odd to me that one of the most common issues raised is the fear of the unpredictable behavior of human nature. The reality is that "no one can predict human behavior, and there is no specific "profile" of a potentially dangerous individual. However, studies indicate that incidents of violence are usually preceded by patterns of behavior or other activities that may serve as warning signs." (FEMA 2016) Like violent events in nature, human behavior can be unpredictable. However, just like earthquakes or hurricanes, we should plan and prepare to reduce the occurrences or effect of violent events. In safety management we encounter human behavior deviations from the norm on a daily basis.