Looking at workplace violence
Whether or not workplace violence is actually (statistically) on the rise is anyone's guess, but one thing is for sure, it has a higher profile than it has ever had before. Last week, the story was from the Discovery Channel's headquarters where a madman with explosives strapped to his body took hostages before ultimately being killed by a SWAT officer. This week it was an incident this morning at a Kraft Foods plant where a terminated worker was escorted out, but returned with a handgun and then killed two employees and critically injured a third before she was arrested. Kraft Foods, as you can imagine, is certainly large enough to have a strong corporate security department.
Let's run through some recent incidents (and the number of innocent victims), because I think these are good review material for anyone who handles corporate security:
- The aforementioned wacko at the Discovery Channel
- The aforementioned incident today at a Kraft Foods plant (two dead)
- The shootings at a Connecticut beer distributor (nine dead)
- The shooting of a father and son at a Dallas financial office
- Ex-employee shooting at a Penske plant in Georgia (three dead)
- Shooting at an Albuquerque office for Emcore (two dead, linked to domestic violence)
- Disgruntled employee opened fire at ABB Group plant in St. Louis (one dead)
These are just the high-profile ones I've scanned through since January, but rest assured that there are plenty of other workplace violence incidents which happen every week but which don't make the news.
We've also run some enlightening pieces from workplace violence prevention experts Felix Nater (see interview) and John Byrnes (see column). The summary from most workplace violence experts is that there are procedures being put in place which can help prevent and identify the likelihood of workplace violence incidents. Notice I said "help" prevent, because there is no guarantee that any workplace violence prevention program is going to keep you 100 percent free and clear of an incident.
It does seem that there are three big red flags that we can ascertain from these incidents...
TO READ MORE or to comment on this topic, including my look at the three red flags, read the full text of my column on workplace violence.
9 years after 9-11
Are we being serious about what learned?
September 11 is tomorrow. It's been nine fast years, and today we're a far different country than we were before 9-11. Or are we? Nine years later, here's what we know: 1) Only 36 percent of Americans think we are safer from terrorism than we were before 9-11. 2) Most Americans think Bin Laden won't be caught (these first two statistics come from a CNN poll). 3) We're publically concerned about some oddball preacher who wants to burn the Quran on 9-11's anniversary. 4) As a nation, we're openly debating whether a mosque should be allowed near the former twin towers site in Manhattan, and the debate has turned into a strong display of anti-Muslim sentiments. 5) The Department of Homeland Security's big campaign is one against complacency as it strikes up the band for the "See something, say something" campaign and SARS (for law enforcement). 6) TSA has warmed up to technology deployments, including explosives detection and advanced body scanners (despite the privacy protests), though much of this "warming up" can be attributed to a big fat check from stimulus funding.
So I have to ask, what has really changed since 9-11-2001? Are taking seriously the lessons we learned nine years ago? Or are we spending too much time quibbling over how many blocks away from the World Trade Center site is appropriate for a Muslim religious facility. This question of what has changed is a question we're going to try to answer this next year as we move toward the 10th anniversary of 9-11 next year. Join the conversation. Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts on what has changed in our nation and in our industry since 9-11 -- or post your thoughts in the comments below. Tell us how your life and how you secure yourself, your business or your department have changed.