The recent events of the horrific Penn State child sex abuse allegations remind us all that workplace violence can strike at any time and place, and can involve individuals that you would never suspect. Although none of us can ultimately eliminate all tragedies such as this, organizations can take a pro-active stance through education and awareness, along with incorporating a solid Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention Program to minimize such risk. Depending on the severity and nature of the incident, acts of workplace violence can scar individuals both mentally and physically; create negative publicity and brand defamation; increase lawsuits and settlement costs; add to the loss of production and sales; increase absenteeism; increase workers compensation and medical claims. There is no positive outcome of such an event, except to embrace the opportunity for greater awareness and prevention.
On September 2, 2011, The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and ASIS International published the “Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention Standard” in collaboration with the American National Standards Institute, Inc. You can download a free version of the Standard if you are a SHRM or ASIS member or purchase a soft cover copy of the Standard at their respective websites. This Standard provides an overview of protocols, procedures and policies that any organization can adopt to help identify and prevent threatening behavior and violence affecting the workplace; and outlines how to better address and resolve threats and violence that have already occurred. The Standard also describes the implementation of a Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention Program. Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI) is proud of the efforts of the many volunteers and organizations that contributed hundreds of hours to produce this document. EBI’s own Chief Knowledge Officer, Robert Capwell, was one of the contributing authors of this Standard. The Standard includes language on conducting background checks on employees and contractors as an additional prevention strategy.
The focus on workplace violence is currently at an all time high and we hope that all organizations will embrace this opportunity and revisit all policies and procedures. At EBI, our hearts go out to the victims, families and friends that are affected by the recent events at Penn State.