Your company has set policies & procedures for many sundry items to attempt to help the company operate smoothly and efficiently. So the same should be for workplace violence (WPV) and other such security issues. That little thing that many forget about is a threat assessment team or group.
A TAT should be formed to deal with any threats of a personnel nature within the company. It will be a place to formulate policy and procedure as well as dealing with specific threats to both the company and individual employees. Whether that threat come from an angry union member aimed the General Manager during a strike, supervisor/employee because of disciplinary action, or significant other, angry because of child custody or divorce.
Hopefully in these next two posts I will give you some useful guidelines in beginning to formulate and start your own group. And it really shouldn’t matter that you work in a branch location of a larger company i.e. a warehouse of a manufacturing plant located 20, hundreds or thousands of, miles away or one of a group of medical facilities scattered throughout a city, each of them deserve their own TAT.
Forming the Team:
Ideally this should fall to someone within the security department or human resources. If your security force is contracted then it may be necessary to utilize the HR department, but don’t leave security out of the equation.
You must, absolutely must, ensure that the people picked for your TAT are team players. Each and every person may have their own agenda in participating. They have to put aside their own departments, squabbles, fiefdoms, and issues with others and work together.
A cross section of the company is the best approach to this. Literally someone from each and every department and all shifts should be represented. That sounds all good, but you can’t be effective if 50 people are in every meeting, so try to keep it to 7 – 10 people, 15 at the absolute most. Who should be represented?
- Hourly employees –Union or not, who knows their co-workers better?
- Department managers & Mid-level supervisors –Who knows the employees almost as well?
- security, contracted (preferably those on-site not branch management) or proprietary, loss prevention, and/or risk management
- Shipping – Those dealing with outside delivery people as well as moving product out of the facility on a daily basis…
- Human resources & Office personnel – They will notice visitors who are acting strangely or notice former employees first
- Legal – Unfortunately, they will tell you what you can, or more likely, can’t do, even if it interferes with efficient operation of the team and its objectives
- Medical – In a violent incident they will need you to know what to do
- General Manager – We will talk about this in more detail a bit later
- Information Technologies – They can help with the warning systems as well as if the threat is cyber based
- Maintenance & Housekeeping – Who will know more than them about every entry/exit point of the building and where the best improvised weapons can be found?
This is obviously not an all-inclusive list but I’m sure you get the idea. Another aspect you need to plan for is that everyone chosen for the team is there at every meeting, unless they are sick or on vacation.
The team’s first directive should be to review all aspects of the company’s crisis management plan, disaster recovery plans (CMT & DRP), and risk analysis with surveys and assessments. If you have none of these…then you need to get them to review.
The main function of getting these materials is not just to review them but to analyze them in depth. Question the findings and recommendations until the team are satisfied with their results in defining them to ensure accuracy, simplicity, effectiveness, and efficiency.
Again your TAT needs to read, revise, and re-define every single aspect of your CMT, DRP, and other such factors as necessary to ensure that the business is as safe as it can be. This may also mean stepping on the toes of departmental heads and managers. Not trying to upset anyone, but to make the business safer.
Simply put nothing should be left off the table when it comes to the TAT review. Every sacred cow needs to be re-visited and possibly put out to pasture if it’s outdated or not plausible anymore. No matter how much it’s liked or utilized. If it won’t work because it’s outdated then slaughter it.
From security to shipping to office visitors to delivery people everything has to be analyzed. One question they can ask themselves during the initial phase of the group is simple and at the same time hard to answer. And no matter how trivial the team members may think it is, it needs to be brought up and discussed.
Think like a criminal bent on gaining access and doing harm and damage to the business and its employees. The threat may be from any number of sources and that means that that question needs to be asked more than once.
The second responsibility of the team is to gather and assess all threats and violence from within the business. Even if there are none to speak of, they still need to meet and discuss other such incidents from the surrounding area and industry. This will allow the team to become pro-active in seeing and confronting any potential problems or trends within the company or industry.
Discussing other incidents gives you the benefit of hind-sight – to see what other companies did, and didn’t do. It allows you to clearly see what works and what doesn’t or may/may not work for you with some tweaking.
(The 2nd part of this post will be next week:
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