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Will Your Workplace Violence Plan Fail When You Need It Most?

Mar 25, 2008
The workplace violence policy that you've been working on for your company is finally done. You made sure to add all of the prevention policies and reporting procedures you could think of. You're ready to submit it and make it part of the company's SOP, but...

...for your people to protect themselves if something actually happens and they find themselves being violently attacked by an enraged attacker?

The problem with the majority of workplace violence plans today is probably invisible to the individuals responsible for writing them. In fact, the missing part is conspicuously missing from most of the training programs and advice offered by even the most expensive consultants. And yet, it's this critical element that, if missed, could leave you and your company with the very same liability issue that you originally implemented your plan to handle in the first place.

As I tell all of my clients, prevention is great and necessary. So, don't get rid of your "zero-tolerance" statements, banned weapons lists, or employee interaction policies. Likewise, you'll want to make sure that all of your hard work that went into developing those reporting procedures doesn't go to waste either. But, let's not forget why we bothered to create a workplace violence prevention policy in the first place. And that reason was...

...liability control, and loss management.


Unless you're in the habit of making up policies for your company just because you attended a seminar or read an article about it and some so-called expert said you needed it, your workplace violence management policy should be seen for what it is - a critical, potentially life-saving, part of your company's overall liability-management systems.

The term, "life-saving," may seem a bit strong but I mean it literally in the sense of a company's financial life. Because a violent attack happening in your facility can literally destroy your company. But, when I say "life-saving," I'm also talking about the lives of you, your employees, and anyone visiting and who might get caught in the cross-fire. The thing to remember is that, an assailant intent on attacking, regardless of whether he is one of your own or an outsider, doesn't care about your zero-tolerance stance - isn't concerned about whether he's "allowed" to have the weapon he's using, or what you're going to do to him after he's finished.

However, there is someone out there who cares whether or not you have the missing piece to your policy that I've been talking about. I'm referring to the growing number of lawyers who are more than ready to represent one of your employees who are injured in a workplace violence incident. The missing elements that I'm talking about include but are not limited to:

* Training for escaping an area under attack

* Assault-evasion skills

* Assault prevention techniques, and...

* Self-Defense skills

These are the elements that could make or break your company's survival and future existence. The only elements that are designed specifically to save the lives of...

* a company's greatest assets - it's people

* your company's financial standing, and perhaps even more importantly...

* your company's ability to successfully defend itself legally, in the aftermath of a violent attack - to defend yourself against once-loyal employees now holding you liable for not providing the training they needed to avoid their injuries.

I'm sure your policy looks great. I'm sure it looks complete. But, the reality is that, most people charged with creating these plans - whether or not it's you, a committee, or a specialist you brought in - lack the necessary experience in crisis management - especially with physical violence - to even begin creating such a policy. You owe it to yourself, your company, and the people who depend on you, to insure that your company's workplace violence plan is more than just a "feel-good" policy that might instill nothing but a false sense of security.

It's up to you to make sure it won't fail when you need it the most!
About the Author
Add the missing violence in the workplace training which will make your policy complete. Before you contact another consultant, you owe it to yourself and your organization to get the information on workplace violence at wcinternational.com
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