Workplace Violence


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  • Play the Phoenix HR 9-1-1 tape.
  • Cashless transactions example: vending machines.
    Visibility and lighting are important safety factors to people working at night.
    Code words: “Would you tell Mr. Jones his appointment is here” (there is no one working there named Mr. Jones).
  • Photo – Territoriality example: White picket fence doesn’t stop anyone from getting to the house, but it clearly shows where the sidewalk ends and the private property begins.
  • Photo: Ikea of Tempe, Arizona built the restaurant on the second floor facing the parking lot so the patrons watch their own cars.
  • Front counter made the workers have back to the parking lot. Couldn’t see the customers until they came in front of the counter.
  • Moving the front counter to the middle means that employees can see the parking lot and the entire store.
  • Office furniture should be configured so the employee is closest to the door and the visitor is farthest. The employee should be able to get out when needed. Also, anything that could be used as a weapon (scissors, letter opener, paperweight) should be removed from the desk.
  • Photo above: great use of opening so that back office can see the receptionist, except person in the back has their back to the front.
    Lower photo: Scottsdale Police Department District 2 police station has front entrance designed to put the employee sitting behind the desk at the same height or higher than the visitor standing. Gives them the advantage of looking down.
  • Photos are a computer simulation of a 7-11 parking lot. Top photo has .2 foot-candles of light. Middle photo has .5 foot-candles of light. The bottom photo shows 2 foot-candles of light.
  • James Snedigar was a Chandler Police Officer who died during a swat entry into an apartment looking for a subject. The PD asked the City Council for money after the fact for a robot to do the entry.
  • Workplace Violence

    1. 1. Workplace Violence A Call To Action! Citizen & Neighborhood Resources Department Scottsdale, Arizona
    2. 2. Overview Two examples The impact Risk factors Threats Dealing with difficult people Prevention strategies (CPTED) Vicarious liability
    3. 3. The “Wake-Up Call” City of Phoenix Human Resources Department, June 11, 1992 Changed the way 9-1-1 calls are taken: 1. Dialing 9 to get an outside line 2. Stay where you are, help is on the way! 3. Caller ID when a business moves
    4. 4. Lessons Learned in 1999 Los Angeles Jewish Community Center Shooting on August 10, 1999 Suspect: Buford O’Neal Furrow, Jr. Victims: 3 children, one teenager, 68 year old woman & a Mail Carrier 1. Scouted out sites prior 2. Picked LA JCC due to easy access & visible targets (children)
    5. 5. The Impact 444 Homicides in the USA in 2008 - down from 900 in 1995 (source: Reuters 10/05/09) Most victims are store clerks and taxi cab drivers (source: Reuters 10/05/09) Crime victimization costs employers 1,751,100 days off work per year or 3.5 days per victimization Employees missing work (not paid vacation or sick time) cost them $55 million in lost wages
    6. 6. Definition WORKPLACE VIOLENCE is any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting
    7. 7. Another Definition A WORKPLACE may be any location either permanent or temporary where an employee performs any work-related duty. This includes, but is not limited to:  Buildings and the surrounding perimeters  Parking lots  Field locations  Clients’ homes  Traveling to and from work assignments
    8. 8. Interesting Facts Most likely to be attacked on the job: Least likely to be attacked on the job: Police Officers College Professors Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics
    9. 9. Risk Factors Contact with the public Exchange of money Delivery of passengers, goods or services Mobile workplace (taxi, police car) Working with unstable people (healthcare, social service, criminal justice) Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    10. 10. More Risk Factors Working alone or in small numbers Working late at night or early in the morning Working in high-crime areas Guarding valuable property Working in community-based settings Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    11. 11. What is a Threat? According to Arizona Revised Statutes: an individual must say something threatening and have the ability to carry it out immediately. “If I come up there, you’ll be sorry” “If you do that again, I’m going to punch you” NO! YES!
    12. 12. Dealing with Difficult People In Person Clues: red face, sweating, shaking, wearing clothing to conceal weapons (raincoat in the summer) Response:  get on same level • Code words  Stand • Second person  Stay calm • Call 9-1-1
    13. 13. Safe Room Have a room set aside that everyone knows to go in an emergency The room should have a phone and a lock Check to see if you have to dial “9” to call 9-1-1 (old phone systems) Does the room have a secondary escape?
    14. 14. Dealing With Difficult People On the Phone Write exactly what was said If there is a pattern, use a recording device Make sure it’s a threat Report it immediately
    15. 15. Prevention Strategies Less cash or cashless transactions Visibility and lighting Code words, trouble lights GPS tracking devices for field work Training employees and supervisors Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
    16. 16. CPTED Five Principals: Territoriality  Define the territory as YOURS  Can be done with fences, barriers  Shows pride of ownership  Can prevent trespassing
    17. 17. CPTED Five Principals: Territoriality Natural Surveillance  Being able to see your property while doing normal business  Landscaping visibility is key  Criminals don’t want to be observed
    18. 18. Natural Surveillance Example: Front Counter Convenience Store Design in the 1980’s
    19. 19. Natural Surveillance Example: Front Counter Convenience Store Design Today
    20. 20. CPTED Five Principals: Territoriality Natural Surveillance Activity Support  Place activities to observe  Playground near cluster mailbox  Risk increases for criminal
    21. 21. CPTED Five Principals: Territoriality Natural Surveillance Activity Support Access Control  Limit the entrances/exits  Add barriers (gates/fences) Chantilly Castle, France
    22. 22. CPTED Five Principals: Territoriality Natural Surveillance Activity Support Access Control Maintenance  Regular and consistent
    23. 23. CPTED In Your Office Where do you sit in your office? Where do visitors sit in your office? What is on your desk?
    24. 24. CPTED At the Front Counter Is there a barrier? Do you have CCTV? Can the front desk get help quickly? What’s the code word? Concealed panic button? Visible “in & out” board? If customer refuses to leave?
    25. 25. Working Late Walking to your car alone Policies for two people to go to night meetings Company policies on personal safety devices?  Mace, pepper spray, sirens, stun devices, cell phones, guns Purse and brief case while driving
    26. 26. Vicarious Liability If you’ve been notified of a potential threat and take no action, you can be held liable for the events that occur from your inaction The James Snedigar example from Chandler Police
    27. 27. The Court’s Test 1. Does the company have policies in place? 2. Has a high level person with the company been assigned to ensure compliance? 3. Is the company doing all it can to prevent someone in authority who has done criminal activity? 4. Has the company communicated its standards to employees? 5. Has the company taken reasonable steps to get compliance? 6. Standards enforced consistently? 7. After an occurrence, did the company take all possible steps to prevent a re-occurrence?
    28. 28. What Now? Set up office policy and practices Train your employees! Ask the police department for a security survey utilizing CPTED principles Make the recommendations a reality Employee training: personal safety, emergency procedures
    29. 29. Summary Two examples The impact Risk factors Threats Dealing with difficult people Prevention strategies (CPTED) Vicarious liability
    30. 30. Questions? Scottsdale Police Department 480-312-5000 or