Workplace violence by Brad Hyde


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Safety at work is important. Awareness of your surroundings and how you and your co-workers can stay safe is the focus of this presentation

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Workplace violence by Brad Hyde

  1. 1. Workplace Violence Bradley D. Hyde Delta Medical Center of Memphis
  2. 2. Workplace Violence On August 20, 1986, a part-time letter carrier named Patrick H. Sherrill, facing possible dismissal after a troubled work history, walked into the Edmond, Oklahoma, post office, where he worked and shot 14 people to death before killing himself.
  3. 3. Workplace Violence  In California form 1989 to 1997, there were 15 workplace homicide incidents, six with multiple victims, that killed 29 people.  In Connecticut four state lottery executives were killed by a lottery accountant. (3/89)  In Hawaii a Xerox technician killed several coworkers. (11/99)  In Massachusetts a software engineer killed seven coworkers. (12/2000)
  4. 4. Workplace Violence  In Illinois a former forklift driver killed four current workers at the Navistar plant. (2/2001)  In New York three coworkers were killed by an insurance executive. (9/2002)  In Missouri three workers were killed by a coworker. (7/2003)  In Mississippi six aircraft plants workers were killed by a coworker. (7/2003)
  5. 5. Workplace Violence  School Shootings  Terrorism
  6. 6. Workplace Violence  Assaults  Domestic Violence  Stalking  Threats  Harassment (Including Sexual Harassment)  Physical and Emotional Abuse
  7. 7. Average Annual Number Incidents by Type of Crime 1993-1999  Homicide 900 0.1%  Sexual Assault 36,500 2.1%  Robbery 70,100 4.0%  Aggravated Assault 325,000 18.6%  Simple Assault 1,311,700 75.2%
  8. 8. Workplace Violence It is rare for someone to just “snap” and go on a killing rampage. There are usually warning sings. The warning signs include threats both overt and covert.
  9. 9. What is a Threat?  An expression of an intention to inflict something harmful.  An indication of impending danger or harm.  One regarded as a possible danger.
  10. 10. “All Men Are Created Equal”
  11. 11. Threat Assessment But all threats are not equal!
  12. 12. Threat Assessment Gather Information Listen to what has happened and DOCUMENT Like all narratives given under stress--gaps may be present. Clarification may be needed.
  13. 13. Threat Assessment Basic Information Age Marital Status Previous Health Status Work History Job Description Previous Behavior
  14. 14. Threat Assessment Company Environment Blue Collar vs. White Collar Previous History of Violence at Company Ongoing Union Disputes Changes in Leadership or Management Potential Closing or Down Sizing
  15. 15. Threat Assessment Talk To Others If no one is willing to talk -- Bad Sign May mean that everyone is afraid of him -- or he may just be aloof.
  16. 16. Threat Assessment Written Incident Report Is Very Important Without a written report--you must confront the employee with hearsay evidence.
  17. 17. Threat Assessment How does the employee react to the allegations? 1. He may betray his anger and make further threats. 2. He may be accepting of his actions. Acceptance has a better prognosis.
  18. 18. Risk Factors for Violence What is the sex of the person making the threat? Most workplace violence is committed by men.
  19. 19. Risk Factors for Violence Is there a past history of violence? Prior criminal acts Motor vehicle infractions Spouse or child abuse Bad Temper (prone to property destruction)
  20. 20. Risk Factors for Violence Is there an identified victim? If the threat is directed at a specific person, it is much more ominous.
  21. 21. Risk Factors for Violence Does the employee have access to weapons? Recent acquisitions or preoccupation with weapons is much more worrisome. Long term ownership is less problematic.
  22. 22. Risk Factors for Violence Does the employee use alcohol or other drugs? The issue here is the affect of alcohol on the employee. 1. Reduces inhibitions 2. Increases impulsitivity
  23. 23. Risk Factors for Violence “of all the many variables that are being studies in models for the prediction of violence, substance abuse emerges as the most significant factor.”
  24. 24. Risk Factors for Violence Does the employee have a psychiatric illness? Paranoid delusions or command hallucinations constitute a distinct risk.
  25. 25. Risk Factors for Violence Does the employee have a social network to look to for assistance? Social isolation and recent loss are significant risk factors.
  26. 26. Risk Factors for Violence Violence rarely occurs without a recent loss Loss of job, promotion, grievance Loss of spouse or other family difficulties
  27. 27. Risk Factors for Violence Has the employee contacted the EAP and complied with their recommendations? An employee that uses the EAP to work through problems and who follows their recommendations is of a lesser risk than someone who refuses help.
  28. 28. Risk Factors for Violence Are there other subjective factors? Some people may evoke fear in people across different segments of the company (security, management, coworkers, and supervisors). When an employee upsets everybody Take Heed!!
  29. 29. Houston, we have a problem!
  30. 30. Typical Call “we have an employee we are worried about” Or “one of our employees just made a threat!” You may have a duty to inform the potential victim.
  31. 31. Early Intervention A useful but non-intuitive intervention is to confront the employee who made the threat and relate how their actions have affected others.
  32. 32. Early Intervention Many employees, when confronted, are surprised by the allegations and seek to reassure the employer that they mean no harm.
  33. 33. Early Intervention When you talk to an employee -- Listen! Employees who feel that they are not being heard sufficiently will escalate their anger.
  34. 34. Outside Referral  Psychiatrist  Emergency Room  Clinician in Private Practice
  35. 35. Fitness For Duty Evaluation Employee should be told that an independent clinician has been retained to assess the incident and that confidentially can not be guaranteed. The employee should sign a release to that effect.
  36. 36. Fitness For Duty Evaluation A determination will be made as to whether the employee may return to work and if so under what conditions, or whether he represents such a threat that he can not go back to work. It is rare to find an employee that requires emergency psychiatric evaluation or police intervention.
  37. 37. Fitness For Duty Evaluation Usually a risk rating is given to the employer. Low risk Counseling EAP High risk Police intervention and an emergency petition can be filled. Usually reserved for psychiatric conditions. Does not return to work.
  38. 38. Workplace Violence Conclusions
  39. 39. Thank You Bradley D Hyde Delta Medical Center of Memphis