How to Stop the Madness: Violence in the Workplace
Every day in the United States, someone dies in an incident related to workplace violence, however, only 70 percent of U.S. businesses have a workplace violence plan – many of which are incomplete and untested. Workplace violence should be at the top of your vulnerability and threat analysis. This RIMS 2016 session illustrated how to mitigate this risk by properly implementing the Behavioral Risk & Threat Assessment (BeRThA™) program.
- Suzanne Rhulen Loughlin, Founder/EVP/CAO, Firestorm Solutions, LLC
- Harry Rhulen, CEO, Firestorm Solutions, LLC
People do not just snap. There are warning signs, red flags, cues, signals – but often they are not considered to be of a serious nature, so they don’t get reported. BeRThA™ trains employees how to identify and report behaviors of concern and threats and allows employers to implement a trusted anonymous reporting process to notify the employer through four major steps.
Train everyone on what to look for, including threats and behaviors of concern that should be reported.
Threatening behavior is clear. Examples include:
- Bullying/cyber bullying
- Date violence
- Threats (verbal, physical) / condition threats (“If I don’t get what I want…..”) / indirect threats
- Weapons at work
Behaviors of concern are not always as clear. Examples include:
- Blames others and documents others whom they believe to be the cause of their problems
- Senses privacy is being invaded.
- Fascinated with past violent criminals and/or weapons.
- Takes criticism poorly.
- Substance abuse.
- Attendance problems.
2. Intelligence Network
If you don’t have a method for people to report anonymously, oftentimes they won’t report anything at all. This is an essential piece of your program.
- Implement a ‘trusted’ reporting process and technological modalities/systems for reporting anonymously (including text, e-mail, mobile app, phone line).
- Ensure confidentiality in the process.
- Train employees on ‘how to report’ behaviors of concern, including types and levels of threats. Determine who will receive/gather/document reports (texts, e-mails, in-person, phone calls, suggestion box).
- Determine how threat assessment team (TAT) gets notified.
3. Central Repository
This is the place to collect and track your tips.
- Establish a repository (warehouse) for all verbal and written reports/submissions (e.g. database, Excel spreadsheet, written notebook).
- Develop forms to be filled out (‘the report’) for submission to the central repository.
- Establish response procedure to submitted reports. Who collects the reports, how often, what do they do with them upon receipt?
- Establish review and sign-off procedures of all submitted reports.
- Establish regular meeting for TAT to review submitted reports that did not trigger immediate action.
4. Threat Assessment Team
Threat assessment is the process of trying to identify concerning behavior. Define roles and responsibilities for the following:
- Workplace Violence Oversight Committee
- Threat Assessment Team (or function)
- Board of Directors
- Emergency Response Team(s)
- All Employees (awareness and reporting)
Determine type of subject matter experts that will be needed (e.g. forensic psychologist, law enforcement member, faith-based community member, HR) and enter into on-call relationship.
Appoint Threat Assessment Team and Emergency Response Team Members and develop a training program for all roles and responsibilities and program components. They will need to be trained to do investigation, behavioral risk screening, develop action plan for the subject and monitor the subject.