Another preventable incident of workplace violence at a Home Depot in NYC.
Doing nothing is a choice. Too many preventable lives lost have forced our eyes open to the fact that we need to choose to do something more. We can no longer afford in live in a world where we simply hope that nothing will happen, and then solely rely on the first responders to save us once something does.
Workplace violence does not happen “out of the blue.” There are observable behaviors which when reported and assessed SAVE LIVES.
Someone won’t see everything, but everything is seen by someone.
In the aftermath of workplace violence, colleagues and co-workers in each case stated that they observed several pre-incident indicators, but considered them insignificant or just “weird” behavior. Even today, many office workers do not have a practical understanding of what a pre-incident indicator looks like, let alone have an effective reporting process to submit their concerns. The truth is that while someone may not see everything, everything is seen by someone. Just like in a dramatic detective story, it’s that seemingly insignificant piece of information that makes all the difference. An effective threat assessment process is just like a detective trying to solve a puzzle. Each little piece helps to make the bigger picture possible.
Employees may feel that reporting such concerning or “odd” behavior to the attention of their manager or supervisor is frowned upon as “ratting” or have anxiety over being labeled as “paranoid.” The reality is that reporting such potentially dangerous behavior is in the best interest of everyone.
Threat assessment is a time and information based process. Only when these identifiable behaviors are reported can scenarios be identified and assessed BEFORE they impact safety, productivity and livelihood.
How it works
Most threat assessment resources today are dedicated to the politicians and the public figures who are being directly targeted. As a result, there are a lot of big fish in a very small pond who are all competing for that small 1% of the celebrity market share. Coursen Security Group wants to bring this process to the other 99% of the population who are just as much at risk, but who don’t typically have the resources made available to assess and monitor a non-targeted threat. Our job is to bring sunlight to the dark corners of danger in order to empower you with the best practices possible to stay safe.
When it comes to assessing threats, personal concerns are the greatest source of information. Our internal sense of defense is so finely tuned for ensuring our personal safety that it automatically acts as a safety net for what is good and what is bad. Anything that falls into the “bad” category should be reported. Instead of rationally explaining away noticeable concerns, we encourage you to report them.
As threat assessment professionals, we want to assess everything that seems concerning, out of place, weird, or worrisome. Your instinct knows best, but “red flags” of particular importance may include things like:
Explicit statements about harming someone
Increased mood swings
Expressing suicidal comments
Increase in abusive language
Changes in behavior
Unsolicited comments about guns or other dangerous weapons
Increase in alcohol or drug use
Anxiety or uncertainty about family/relationships/situations
Resistance and over-reaction to changes in procedure
Change in appearance/decline hygiene
Sending disturbing messages (such as texts, emails or letters)
Repeated violations of company policy
Loss of job/income/relationships
Disruptive behavior/irritability/abrasive towards others
Fascination with violent and/or sexually explicit movies and/or publications
Identifying with other persons who engaged in past violence toward others
Making statements that support the use of violence to resolve issues
Basically, if you sense something, say something. You report. We decide.
Starting a simple email address at work that can be used by all, like firstname.lastname@example.org is a great way to get started. Make reporting easy and effective. The more puzzle pieces your staff provide, the more likely a potential hazard can be managed toward peaceful resolve.
Benefits of an independent threat assessor
You need someone who can help you identify and assess those situations most likely to impact safety, productivity and your company’s bottom line, but without all of the overhead of direct staffing. HR is often inundated with a hundred other priority tasking, and benefits, insurance, and salary for a full-time assessor may add up quick.
To help you reduce cost AND risk, Coursen Security Group (CSG) offers monthly threat assessment subscription models designed to offset the cost of keeping your safety certain. One flat rate allows for anyone in your office to submit both personal concerns from their private lives as well as professional concerns from inside the workplace.
The simple fact is this: employees are more likely to submit their concerns to a private consultant who is independent of their personal and professional relationships. Someone who they know is looking out for them, but with whom they don’t interact on a daily basis.
How does this help you?
Each and every submission is tracked and monitored which not only provides you with the ability to reduce risk and prevent violence, but also provides useful productivity information to conduct business more efficiently.
As the business owner, there is no downside. At the front end, you are able to track and monitor where the productivity disruptions may exist in your office, but on the back end you may very well save a life!
Spencer Coursen is a nationally recognized threat management expert who has an exceptional record of success in the assessment, management, and resolution of threats, domestic and global security operations, investigations, policy authorship, and protective strategy.