MANAGING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
My last post – let’s face it – was basically me venting after the senseless murder of a Yale graduate student – a woman – in the supposedly high security lab environment of that esteemed university. The police have dubbed the murder as workplace violence, and, although I don’t completely agree, I posted a monograph on Woman and Workplace Violence (WPV). As I promised at the end of that post, let’s talk a bit about how to effectively deal – on a personal level – with people and events that seem to be cascading toward all –out violence on the job site.
FACTORS THAT PLACE WORKERS AT RISK FOR WPV.
v Contact with the public.
v Responsibilities include the exchange of money.
v The delivery of passengers, goods and/or service.
v Working alone or in small numbers.
v Working with volatile, unstable person(s), et al.
v Working late at night or in the early morning hours.
v Working in a high crime area.
v Guarding valuable properties, including drugs, etc.
v Delivery of home care services.
As you may have noticed, only two of those factors existed relative to the murder of Ms. Lee. She was working alone and she was working in the same location as what turned out to be a volatile, unstable person.
RECOGNIZING THOSE RED, RED FLAGS.
If at all possible, of course, work in the company of people whom you trust. More likely than not, if Ms. Lee had, the angry, emotionally disturbed and volatile person would have stewed in his own rage for a while and gone on his way, leaving Ms. Lee unharmed.
However, if you read my last post (Lust Or WPV?), you might be aware that homicide is the number one cause of death for women (in the workplace). You would also know that incidents of stalking, rape, sexual assault, and other types of violence are visited on women in alarmingly increasing numbers.
My point: Even if she would have gone to the Yale lab with one or two friends, the perpetrator likely would have attempted to stalk, trap and attack Ms. Lee when she was alone and vulnerable.
What then are some of the Red Flags, or Signatures of Danger, you can use to help you profile someone you want to either stay clear of, or, more likely, prepare a self defense plan against?
v A history of violence, stalking, etc. (The Perp in this case had this history).
v He/She has stalked or harassed another worker in the past.
v Some or Many of your co-workers communicate that they also feel uncomfortable around this person.
v The worker is almost always rigid, inflexible, intransigent in how he/she handles work and social-related issues.
v Displays signs of chronic sadness, hopelessness, depression.
v The worker often states his or her hopelessness.
v The worker identifies with past perpetrators of spectacular WPV.
v A Fascination with guns and other weapons.
v Reacts poorly to criticism.
v Projects blame onto others.
v Sees himself as being on a One-Man Crusade.
Ok, so you recognize several of these factors, plus, importantly, you and others feel terribly uncomfortable around the worker, plus, and now I refer to the Yale Incident, he strides toward you, his face contorted in rage, his fists clenched, and he is about to invade your PSZ (Personal Safety Zone).
What do you do?
Stay Tuned For the Next Post. Until Then, Stay Safe.