The reporter stands in front of a business, speaking into the camera he tells the story of an incident of workplace violence (WPV) that has occurred here. Days later, after the blood has been cleaned away, equipment replaced or repaired, productivity is slowly getting back to normal, and everyone is calming down, where are the cameras and reporters?
This is an issue that has plagued the families and loved ones of WPV victims since it came into the national spotlight in the mid-80s. No one, very few at the most, pay much attention to what happens after the incident and cleanup is over. But there are many costs that the cameras, reporters, and their words won’t cover.
And most of the public, media, or uninformed on WPV, won’t notice it either, even if they wanted too. The unreported costs of WPV are far more expensive than the cost to the business of clean-up, reputation restoration, replacement of equipment, and, unfortunately, replacing/recruiting new employees. It can run for a lifetime with nightmares and anxiety for those traumatized by the incident.
Those of us that deal with WPV on a daily basis will instinctively know these items. But most everyone else who don’t perceive much, except the latest fiction of the newest most outrageous reality show. They won’t, or don’t wish too, know these issues either because they just aren’t associated with them on a daily basis. Much like security professionals with their specialties, they just don’t see it.
So, what are some of these unreported costs to the business that cause them to ignore issues by sticking their heads in the sand and having the CHH attitude?
- Economic loss for the families (especially if it was a single parent as in a Domestic Violence (DV) incident
How do you tell a child that you have to move because you can’t afford to live near their school anymore? It would not be easy.
- Emotional toll on the families
Again, do you want to be the one telling a young child that their mother or father is never coming home again? As heart-breaking as it is for the kids it may be harder on the bearer.
- Economic & emotional loss for employees
For some employees who may be close to the co-worker it will be hard to not look over and see their face across or next to them anymore. For some it could cause traumatic episodes, leading to psychological issues.
The whole community will feel the loss of an employee. Even more so if this individual was a volunteer for certain programs or groups and did a lot of charity work for non- profits, kids, hospice, or whatever.
- Sense of safety & security that every worker has a right to feel while on the job.
As a kid you experienced the safety & security when your parents told you that there were no monsters under your bed and they checked for you. Then they let you sleep in their bed on stormy nights. Now imagine the monsters are standing in front of them every single day, growling, snarling, fangs dripping and claws reaching for them.
- Work disruption/loss of productivity
A deadly WPV incident will disrupt your work flow no matter what. Even if it’s not fatal your work and productivity will suffer because of the innumerable interruptions and gossip. According to some surveys it will take 6-8 weeks to get back to full productivity, which can have an impact on the bottom line of the business as well as that of the employees.
- Medical and workers compensation claims
Depending on the injuries and wounds, this could very well cost you into the millions. And then of course there are the employees. Even with a Cadillac health insurance plan it could cost them upwards of several hundred thousand dollars depending on the severity of their injuries. And the family is left to bear the burden.
An average lawsuit that is settled over a fatal incident is nearly $6 million. Inadequate security could cost you $1.2 million. And if you look at the findings against U.S. Security Associates in March 2016, over an incident at the Kraft facility in Philadelphia, in 2010, it was over $45 million for 2 families.
You can easily see that most of those items will never reach the full audience of people who may have watched the original incident unfold in rapt fascination. None of the final toll gets reported, except in limited circumstances. Usually, it is the social service agencies and other charity organizations that will bear the brunt of assisting, and learning the whole aftermath of tragic events, the victims and their families.
But these costs that are directly related to an incident of WPV are real and can last for a lifetime for the families who now have to live without a loved one. Or the victim themselves who may have to live with the horror of being wounded and possibly disabled, both physically & psychologically, by an incident. Fighting those monsters that are growling, snarling, fangs dripping, and claws reaching for them every single day.
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I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear