It’s happened again.
On Tuesday, a lone gunman wounded six people in a FedEx warehouse before shooting himself. It’s a sad irony that the incident happened in April which was Workplace Violence Awareness Month.
For the past three years, Workplace Violence Awareness Month has strived to raise public awareness of one of the top four causes of workplace fatalities (Yes, you read that right – top four.) This article shows us why we should all take this cause seriously.
- More than 3,000 workplace homicides were reported between 2006 and 2010. In 2011 alone, 458 workplace homicides occurred.
- Between 1997 and 2010, 79 percent of workplace homicides were shootings. Other homicides were the result of stabbing; hitting, kicking, and beating; assaults and violent acts by persons; and other means.
- In 2011, 456 people who held management positions were fatally injured in the workplace.
- It is estimated that these events cost the American workforce approximately $36 billion dollars per year.
We don’t want to freak you out. In fact, we should put a little perspective on this. Most workplace homicides take place during robberies or related crimes; And a disproportionate amount of these violent acts happen to those in law enforcement, security and military careers. Here’s an infographic to demonstrate:
Your workplace, if proper precautions are taken, should still be safe. The folks behind Workplace Violence Awareness Month have several suggestions to keep your place of employment safe and secure:
- Take the potential for workplace violence seriously. Create and manage prevention strategies, policies and procedures.
- Overhaul and fix the physical security of your work space, building, complex or campus
- Train employees on how to respond to a violent incident
- Foster a positive work environment
- Most importantly, conduct pre-employment and routine screening on all potential and current employees.
Obviously, we are partial to this last recommendation but we also firmly believe that employment screenings are absolutely/100%/must have/utterly/without a doubt/unequivocally/wholly/categorically/positively the single-most important thing you can to protect your people. Our team of writers have extensively dissected this topic. Click on these links to read some of our past posts that show you why employment screening is imperative.
- Prevent Edward Snowden from landing a job at your company
- Curb violence and other crimes like retail theft, especially when stores are at their highest volume and customers at their most frenzied
- Know what stalking is and how it can be a gateway to other crimes
- Stop shelling out big bucks after a bad hire
One of the key things Active Screening incorporates into its screening process is a thorough criminal background check. This not only shows you any and all infractions and convictions your applicant may have, but it also goes to establish any patterns of behavior or concerns with a candidate’s character. Did your applicant admit, before the criminal background check, that he or she had been arrested or convicted of a crime? Have they been entirely honest throughout the hiring process?
A criminal background check will also highlight arrests and/or convictions for crimes like stalking, harassment, verbal or emotional abuse. While these crimes may not seem ‘violent’ by nature, they can be precursors toward more extreme behavior. The FBI has a very well-researched paper on workplace violence. Check out this link: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/january2011/workplace_violence_prevention
In particular, these lines stand out.
“Specific behaviors of concern that should increase vigilance for coworkers and supervisors include sadness, depression, threats, menacing or erratic behavior, aggressive outbursts, references to weaponry, verbal abuse, inability to handle criticism, hypersensitivity to perceived slights, and offensive commentary or jokes referring to violence.”
“Certain signs that may help determine if a coworker is experiencing [relationship problems] include disruptive phone calls and e-mails, anxiety, poor concentration, unexplained bruises or injuries, frequent absences and tardiness, use of unplanned personal time, and disruptive visits from current or former partners.”
Workplace violence, regardless of what month it is or what public service campaign is running, should be a priority ALL THE TIME. We want to help you keep your company out of the headlines like FedEx is. Head here to see our full list of employee screening services.