by Steven M. Crimando, MA, CHS III

Of all the risks we seek to mitigate, those involving human behavior can be the most difficult. Behavior in continuity planning is often referred to as the “X-factor”, a wild card.  But, there is a good base of evidence in the behavioral sciences that can help us predict and prepare for how leaders and decision-makers, crisis team members, employees and their families may behave in different emergency scenarios. Such insight can greatly enhance policies, plans and even exercises, and, also help ensure that our assumptions about crisis-related behavior are sound.

One of the most complicated behavioral risks in the workplace is the risk of violence. The possibility of workplace violence exists in nearly every work environment. While we are often shocked when a headline announces the most recent workplace rampage, it is important to note that we have learned and applied many lessons in workplace violence prevention over the past decades, and in fact, have significantly decreased levels of  job-related violence and homicides. 

But even organizations with robust and successful workplace violence prevention programs should not rest on their laurels. New reports from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The U.S. Department of State and other government agencies indicate that there have been significant shifts in the national threat matrix regarding the types and frequency of violence acts that can affect both the private and public sector workplace.

While recent headlines describing the mass shooting incidents in Connecticut and New Mexico might create the impression that, as usual, a “disgruntled employee” is at the center of every episode of workplace violence, it is important to note that the nature of workplace violence is changing at the same time the nature of terrorism is changing.

In light of these changes, it may be necessary to take a fresh look at the problem of workplace violence and make adjustments to policies, plans and exercises to reflect the evolving threat.

A new white paper from Extreme Behavioral Risk Management (XBRM) entitled, “Type V Workplace Violence and the “New Terrorist”: Exploring the Active Shooter Threat,” —-and which I have co-authored with Melanie Barth, MS — examines these changes, and goes inside the minds of the perpetrators of workplace violence and terrorism to provide a fresh look at the dynamics of violence solutions needed to address today’s challenges.

Central to this discussion is also the need to prepare for active shooter scenarios within the larger context of a violence prevention program. This whitepaper provides concrete recommendations and action steps for addressing the active shooter risk within the framework of workplace violence prevention, and explores the strategies for detection and deterrence consistent with new recommendations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

An episode of workplace violence can be disruptive, dangerous and potentially dangerous. And, it must be considered in the overall assessment of hazards that can affect your operations and personnel.

It is important that anyone tasked with managing operational risk, security and business continuity, or risk management issues must understand the ever-changing nature of the risk of violence and continue to adapt anti-violence measures to meet these challenges.

To read the complete white paper, CLICK HERE.

Want the latest on Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences in Disasters, Emergency Management and Homeland Security?   Follow me on Twitter:  XBRM_COM

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