Workplace Violence | Scope of Risk

Employers have a general duty to provide employees with work and a workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm. Workplace violence prevention has generally been accepted as falling under the auspices of this general duty when hazards:
§  Add a note hereRepresent a significant risk to employees in a unique or unpredictable concurrence of circumstances.
§  Add a note hereAre known to the employer and are considered hazards in the employer's business or industry.
§  Add a note hereAre ones that the employer can reasonably be expected to prevent.
Add a note hereWorkplace violence is unique as a business hazard, because unlike other hazards the company might face it does not involve a work process or specific operating environment, but instead is an act committed by a person—whether an employee, an exemployee, a customer, a family member, or a client of the company. Workplace violence can have a significant impact on both personnel safety and operational productivity, as well as resulting in serious legal and liability issues for the company. Workplace violence can quickly reduce group morale; increase workforce absenteeism, stress, and retention and recruiting issues; and bring negative publicity and reputational challenges. Risks can range from verbal abuse or inferred threats to simple assaults, aggravated assaults, robberies, thefts, hostage taking, hijackings, rapes, sexual assaults, shootings, and fatalities.
Add a note hereRisk mitigation can be provided through effective screening, vetting, and hiring processes, a noweapons policy within the workplace, adequate security policies and staffing, as well as advisory training programs for managers and staff. Managers should be trained to spot the warning indicators of possible workplace violence risks, typically associated with some form of stress, and the IMP should provide guidance on immediate actions if indicators or actual events occur. The IMP should be linked to both conflict resolution measures as well as IRT and external agency response measures. The following policies and management measures will help reduce workplace violence probabilities and impacts:
§  Add a note hereEffective recruitment policies and procedures, including background checks.
§  Add a note hereA noweapons policy within the workplace.
§  Add a note hereTraining for staff and management.
§  Add a note hereEffective security policies and staffing.
§  Add a note hereAn interface and response plan with local police agencies.
§  Add a note hereConflict resolution training for key managers.
§  Add a note hereTermination policies and plans—especially for highrisk or susceptible personnel.
§  Add a note hereRisk audits to assess stress levels and workplace violence probability levels and response measures.
Add a note hereAn employee exhibiting the following symptoms is not necessarily an individual who is prone to violence; however, violence is always a possibility when these warning signs are evident. These indicators are typical of an employee in difficulty; they strongly suggest that some kind of immediate intervention is needed:
§  Add a note hereExcessive Tardiness or Absences.: Beyond simply missing work, an employee may also reduce the workday by leaving early or departing the work site without authorization, or present numerous excuses for otherwise shortening the workday.
§  Add a note hereIncreased Need for Supervision.: Employees typically require less supervision as they become more proficient at their work. An employee who exhibits an increased need for supervision, or whom the supervisor must spend an inordinate amount of time managing, may be an individual who is signaling a need for help.
§  Add a note hereReduced Productivity.: If a previously efficient and productive employee experiences a sudden or sustained drop in performance, there is reason for concern. This is a classic warning sign of dissatisfaction.
§  Add a note hereInconsistency.: As in the case of reduced productivity, an employee exhibiting inconsistent work habits may be in need of intervention. Employees are typically quite consistent in their work habits, and if this changes, the manager has reason to suspect the individual is in need of assistance.
§  Add a note hereStrained Workplace Relationships.: Many of the classic behavioral warning signs may be identified under this category. If a worker begins to display disruptive behavior in the workplace, it is imperative that the manager intervene as quickly as possible to diffuse a potentially violent situation.
§  Add a note hereInability to Concentrate.: This may indicate a worker who is distracted and in trouble. Employee counseling is indicated.
§  Add a note hereViolation of Safety Procedures.: This behavior may be due to carelessness, insufficient training, or stress. If an employee who has traditionally adhered to safety procedures is suddenly involved in accidents or safety violations, stress may be indicated.
§  Add a note hereChanges in Health or Hygiene.: An employee who suddenly disregards personal health or grooming may be signaling for help.
§  Add a note hereUnusual Behavior.: As mentioned previously, a sustained change in behavior is often an indication of an employee in difficulty. Common sense is the best judge of this issue. Workers are typically familiar with the personalities of their peers and are often quick to notice significant changes.
§  Add a note hereFascination with Weapons.: This is a classic behavioral warning sign that should be easily recognized by coworkers and managers.
§  Add a note hereSubstance Abuse.: It is important that every organization have some methodology in place to identify and assist an employee who has become the victim of drug or alcohol abuse.
§  Add a note hereStress.: Stress is a serious and widespread problem in the workplace. As with substance abuse, an organization should have procedures in place to identify workers who are victims of stress and provide an effective intervention program.
§  Add a note hereExcuses and Blaming.: This is a classic behavioral warning sign that is often easy to identify but just as often ignored by managers. A worker who engages in this behavior is often signaling for assistance, and requires counseling and, possibly, professional intervention.
§  Add a note hereDepression.: Depression is a common ailment, and an individual suffering from depression is not necessarily prone to violence. If, however, the depression is evident for a sustained period of time, professional intervention is recommended, because a violent outcome is always a possibility.
Add a note hereMany of these indicators for managers are alternative ways of interpreting the key behavioral warning signs associated with potential violence. They are almost always warning signs of an employee who requires help. An astute manager will often be quite aware of these indicators through experience and instinct. These tools, experience and instinct, are valuable components of good management, and any employee who exhibits one or more of these indicators must be assumed to be in need of assistance or intervention. The IMP is designed to enable managers to understand what measures should be taken if warning indicators are present, or in more serious cases, if personnel are responding in an aggressive or violent manner to other employees.

Indirect or Direct Fire Attacks | Scope of Risk

Add a note hereAn indirect fire (IDF) attack is one in which a device such as a rocket or mortar round is fired by launching the round into the air with the aim of it landing on, or near, its target. On striking the ground, the round will detonate, creating a blast wave and throwing shrapnel in all directions, or may not detonate, resulting in unexploded ordnance hazards. There may be no warning of an incoming round, and if a round explodes near personnel or facilities it should be assumed that several more rounds may be inbound.
Add a note hereA direct fire attack is one in which a round is fired directly at the target from a weapon such as a pistol, rocketpropelled grenade, missile, rifle, or machine gun. Indirect fire attacks provide easy targeting opportunities for hostile groups and have been used by terrorists and insurgents for several decades. In Northern Ireland, terrorist organizations used mortars and rockets to attack military bases with great effect and little risk to the instigators. The ability to target areas or specific structures from a distance and remotely from the weapon system reduces the risk to the user, while concurrently making threatreduction measures difficult to implement by security forces, especially in urban areas, where the risk of a retaliatory strike (counterbattery) incurring collateral damage reduces response effectiveness as well as deterrence to hostile groups.
Add a note hereThe risks faced by a company from IDF attacks vary, depending on the operator's skill in targeting effectively (hitting what is being aimed at or getting a general area strike pattern), the size of the target area, the equipment used, and any secondary threats that could result from the attack, especially for facilities with combustible materials (notably oil and gas refineries and storage areas). The risks associated with IDF attacks include:
§  Add a note hereDamage to structures or buildings.
§  Add a note hereResulting industrial hazards.
§  Add a note hereUXO clearance, fires, and explosions.
§  Add a note hereFollowon small arms fire or complex attacks.
§  Add a note hereIDF fragmentation hazards (primary and secondary).
§  Add a note hereCasualty management and evacuation procedures.
Add a note hereCompanies can provide adequate risk mitigation and countermeasures to reduce the effects of IDF risks, including bunkers, overhead protection, safe havens, compartmentalization of work sites with blastproof walls, blast films for windows, muster procedures, and medical management areas. An effective warning system and the education of personnel as part of a hostile environment training package are also useful, advising personnel to immediately take cover if they are warned of incoming fire or hear explosions, staying close to the ground and avoiding areas that might pose a shrapnel or explosive hazard.
Add a note hereThe effective use of an IDF attack is often hindered by a lack of effective command, control, and communications necessary for coordinated attacks. As a result, IDF attacks are rarely coordinated with the accuracy and timeliness necessary to cause maximum impacts. Many groups tend to favor shootandscoot tactics, necessitating quick and therefore inherently inaccurate setup, with a minimum number of rounds fired before moving away from the firing area quickly to avoid being apprehended. IDF attacks present an area risk to companies and can also undermine business activities, as personnel may spend many hours in shelters while the risk is present, which can be both fatiguing and demoralizing. The IMP is designed to provide a systematic manner by which to respond to IDF threats, protecting personnel and allowing business operations to resume quickly and safely once the threat has passed.

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