ASIS International, the world's largest association for security management professionals, today unveiled the workplace violence focused education sessions that will be featured during its 63rd ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibits (ASIS 2017), Sept. 25-28 in Dallas, Texas. With the U.S. Department of Labor reporting that nearly two million American workers report being victims of workplace violence—and that is just in the United States—the ability to identify, prepare for, and respond to the risk of violent incidents is paramount. ASIS 2017 has developed a program to provide best practices and education for organizations small and large. Risk of workplace violence "To demonstrate the serious and escalating nature of workplace violence, an FBI review of active shooter events between 2000 and 2013 found that over 70 percent of these incidents occur in the workplace or in an educational environment," said Eugene Ferraro, CPP, PCI, CEO, ForensicPathways, Inc. and chair of the ASIS Active Assailant: Prevention, Intervention, and Response standard initiative. "ASIS is taking a leading role in developing industry standards to address security design considerations, security protocols and response strategies, as well as the procedures for detecting, assessing, managing, and neutralising assailants. The sessions at ASIS 2017 will help any size organisation analyse its current risk positioning, and establish or enhance their workplace violence response plans." "ASIS is taking a leading role in developing industry standards to address security design considerations, security protocols and response strategies" Preparing for workplace violence A selection of the ASIS 2017 sessions open to the media that focus on helping businesses, schools, and community centers prepare for workplace violence incidents include: Corporate Security Can Prevent Domestic Violence Attacks, presented by Lynn Fairweather, President, Presage Consulting and Training, LLC Defusing Hostile People, presented by Bruce Blythe, Chairman/Crisis Management Consultant, R3 Continuum Emergency Response by Retailers in Active Shooter Incidents, presented by Alan Greggo, CPP, Regional Asset Protection Manager, Microsoft Corporation Strategies for Violent Predator Mitigation, Parts 1 and 2, presented by W. Douglas Fitzgerald, CPP, President and CEO, Fitzgerald Technology Group; Kathleen Kiernan, CEO, Kiernan Group Holdings; Michael Rehfeld, Vice President, Realistic Training Solutions, LLC; and Joseph Robinson, CPP, Senior Vice President, Fitzgerald Technology Group Workplace Bullying: Time to Grab the Problem By the Horns, presented by George Vergolias, Associate Medical Director, R3 Continuum; and Oscar Villanueva, Chief Operating Officer, TAL Global Applying Behavioral Analysis to Soft Targets, Parts 1 and 2, presented by William Martin, Principal Consultant and Trainer, Advanced Security Protection Conducting a Safe Employee Termination, presented by Jeffrey Sweetin, CPP, Executive Vice President of Operations, Athos Group Dealing with active shooter incidents Additionally, ASIS 2017 is offering a special programme on Wednesday as part of its Security Cares initiative focused on active shooter/assailant response featuring Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The first panel will cover the unique risks facing small/medium-sized businesses and community and cultural institutions and steps these organisations can take now to both prepare for, and respond to, an active shooter/assailant incident. Insights will spotlight the importance of a crisis management plan and the various free resources available through local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The full panel lineup of speakers includes: "ASIS is committed to helping organisations of all sizes provide safe work environments for employees and the public at large" Kevin Doss, CPP, PSP, author Active Shooter: Preparing for and Responding to a Global Threat Michael Dailey, Chief, Outreach Programs Branch, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Infrastructure Protection, Region VI Paula Ratliff, author Crime Prevention for Houses of Worship Paul Timm, PSP, author School Security: How to Build and Strengthen a School Safety Program and president, RETA Security Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff's Department Prevention and emergency response plans Wednesday's second session, "Preventing Violence: Developing and Testing Your Readiness Plans," focuses on having effective prevention and emergency response plans in place and includes peer-to-peer collaboration in an immersive, simulated scenario focused on testing protocols to surface vulnerabilities. "ASIS is committed to helping organisations of all sizes provide safe work environments for employees and the public at large," said Peter J. O'Neil, Executive Vice President and CEO of ASIS International. "The breadth and depth of our program this year to address this issue is second to none. Our educational lineup combined with leading solution vendors on the show floor will give business, human resources, and community leaders the information and tools they need to educate and protect their workforce."
While the number of incidents is falling, hundreds of thousands of workplace violence incidents still occur every year More than 572,000 people met with a violent crime at work during 2009. In addition, workplace violence caused 521 homicides in 2009. The Bureau for Justice Statistics (BJS) reported these numbers (the most recently updated) in a study of workplace violence between 1993 and 2009. That is a lot of violence. Surprisingly, though, those numbers show a significant decline in workplace violence. In 1993, BJS reported 2.1 million incidents of non-fatal violence and more than 1,000 workplace homicides. The numbers are probably still lower today — six years after the completion of that study. What accounts for the decline? “Executives have learned about workplace violence and taken appropriate steps,” says Eugene Ferraro, chief ethics officer with Denver-based Convercent, a consulting firm that develops compliance programs and anti-workplace violence programs. “Companies have established programs with plans, policies that employees read and sign, training, assistance programs for those in stress and communications methods that enable employees to report problems safely.” While the number of incidents is falling, hundreds of thousands of workplace violence incidents still occur every year. Companies need to improve existing programs. Those with quality programs must maintain quality. Those without programs need to start. Here’s a look at some of today’s best practices for preventing and reducing workplace violence. Intervene and prevent “In almost every case of workplace violence, one or several employees noticed that the perpetrator had become troubled,” Ferraro says. “So workplace violence is fairly predictable.” Recognising early warning signs makes it possible to intervene before an incident occurs. Ferraro says that warning signs to look for begin with inappropriate behaviour that grows worse over time. A person might disrupt a staff meeting one week and threaten a co-worker the next week. According to Ferraro, behaviour at this level is manageable. The company can provide counselling or ratchet up the response to suspension. "Companies have established programs with plans, policies that employees read and sign, training, assistance programs for those in stress and communications methods that enable employees to report problems safely" “The education we provide today involves recognising warning signs and addressing them right away,”Ferraro says. “When someone disrupts a staff meeting, a manager might say, ‘If you do that again, you won’t come to any more staff meetings.’ The idea is to establish boundaries and lay out consequences when a problem arises. “In the past, management waited, which can lead a troubled individual to conclude that management is unwilling to act and to escalate his or her behaviour.” There are resources for dealing with behaviour that has escalated beyond control. Ferraro’s company, Conversent, provides third party services designed to direct an individual’s anger away from clients. Consider the resolution of a recent Conversent case involving a victim of schizophrenia, who had never returned from a 30-day suspension. Instead, he began making threats on Facebook — he posted a nude photo of a female with no head, claiming that it was one of the company’s executives. The company CEO called Conversent. “We approached the individual as HR consultants and negotiated a separation,” Ferraro says. “We set up a safe meeting in a hotel and introduced ourselves saying that it was our job to sort out the grievances he had against the company. We explained that whatever happened with those grievances would be our decision, not the employer’s.” Ferraro and his team counselled the man and worked out a way to help him. He needed $650 per month in medications to control his schizophrenia and regular sessions with a psychiatrist The company agreed to cover that expense. “We made arrangements with the pharmacy and told him that if he missed a pickup, we would know and respond,” Ferraro said. “He also signed a release allowing us to talk with his psychiatrist. After a year, everyone involved agreed that he was no longer a threat.” Of course, the goal of an anti-workplace violence program is to prevent individuals from getting into that state — or even further along the continuum toward violence. For help developing a program, check out the ANSI workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention Standard 2011. Ferraro co-chaired the ASIS committee that developed the Standard.