Crisis Management

The Workplace And The Potential For Violence

It seems, almost on a regular basis, you can pick up a newspaper or watch the 6 o’clock news and learn about some disgruntled employee or former employee who returns to his place of employment and opens fire on his boss and co-workers. You don’t necessarily always think of the workplace as an environment which would induce violence, but over the past five or ten years, there have been numerous violent episodes which have resulted in serious physical injury and even death to employees.

It is imperative today’s security officer understand his other role in potentially violent situations and be offered the training required to respond appropriately. In most instances, the security officer’s role is preventative in nature. The security officer must develop excellent skills at being able to recognize potentially violent situations and be able to utilize appropriate verbal skills and other management techniques to diffuse them.

A closer examination of the workplace environment reveals a number of situations which could turn violent:

  • Employees being severely disciplined.
  • Employees being discharged.
  • Disgruntled former employees returning to the property.
  • Employees suspected of drug abuse being sent for a drug test.
  • Employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol which causes a reduced “threat threshold”.
  • Severe personality conflicts between employees/ employees and between employees/supervisors.
  • Employees involved in relationships who are now feuding.
  • Employees who are psychotic or who have developed severe mental problems due to personal problems, or in some cases, brought about by the work environment.
  • Stress related incidents of “acting out”.