Claremore Daily Progress

February 3, 2013

Workplace violence focus of seminar

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Business leaders in Rogers County gathered this week to learn about workplace violence.

The seminar was hosted by the Claremore Police Department featuring tips and information from the Department of Homeland Security.
Chief Stan Brown and Assistant Chief Charles Downum presented the information while encouraging each business to develop a plan.
“I wanted to reach out to and start a dialog about workplace violence,” Brown said.
He offered several tools and warning signs to the audience, emphasizing how critical it is to have a plan.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” Brown said.
Small events occur frequently,  but do not get national coverage, Brown added.
From 1996 to 2010 there were 281 workplace violence incidents in the country.
Active shooters have no specific profile.
In these incidents, 96 percent were male and 98 percent were carried out by a single attacker, according to Brown.
Basic motivations for shooters include vengeance, war for ideology, materialism and religious salvation.
The acts of violence often stems from a negative situations, prompting intense feelings, ideas, planning and finally, violent behavior.
Brown said there are behaviors that employers can look for.
If an individual tends to focus on the negative or blow things out of proportion then supervisors should take notice, according to Brown.
Other warning signs could involve obsessing, poor decisions at work, resentful of co-workers, poor concentration and off track ideas, he added.
Often times a troubled worker will present negative behaviors. They will be argumentative, impulsive, manipulative and even make threats of violence.
These are just a few things that an employer can look for as warning signs, according to Brown.
In most cases, an active shooter has additional problems in their life outside the workplace, he added.
Employers should be aware of Protective Orders and inner office affairs that are high-risk actions.
An open campus presents additional challenges for safety.
What works are policies and procedures. Document warning signs or actions that may lead to a major event.
Brown recommends sharing information between department or shift supervisors.
Keep a floor map, employee records and medical information in a portable manner to assist law enforcement if an incident occurs.
Train employees to run, hide, and fight, if an active shooter attacks.
Downum said, business owners should be prepared and train employees. There may be some costs associated with preparation but free resources are available.
One free resource for businesses is a video presented by the Department of Homeland Security found on the Internet at wwwreadyhoustontx.gov. 
The Department of Homeland Security offers additional tools including model training policies for businesses.
“There is a cost of doing something and a cost of doing nothing,” Downum said.