As a colleague I needed to write this letter to you to ensure your safety and that of your company, and employees. The threat I want to discuss with you has nothing to do with the normal operational items you deal with on a daily basis. But maybe you should.
It’s the security program your business must have to prevent, or lessen the impact of, a workplace violence (WPV) incident. Yes I know you don’t give much thought to it, think it’s a joke and an afterthought. And yes I can tell what you are thinking because of that dismissing smile and guffaw waiting to erupt.
But WPV is a serious issue for American business, no matter the industry, size, or number of employees. Did you know or realize that you suffer through an incident of WPV practically every hour at your business, in one form or another? If you don’t realize that then you may be restricting WPV into only an incident that involves a firearm.
Do you also realize that American business will lose in excess of more than $135 Billionth this year alone? That comes down to approx. $100,000 to every business every year. Those costs are across the board from clean-up, equipment replacement, lawsuits, and recruiting of new employees. But have you really considered the human cost if it does happen… to the livelihood of the employees and their families?
What you may not realize is that workplace violence takes many forms. The University of South Florida told us that 50% of all employees will be subjected to some form of WPV this year. Those things can make for a HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT. Hmmmm seems like a ready-made lawsuit to me, not based on physical injury.
A single incident of injurious, no matter how serious or fatal WPV can cost you your business. Because if it’s deadly then you’re looking at average of $5.6 MILLION in lawsuit awards for each employee/family affected. And the average cost for inadequate security in $1.2 MILLION per occurrence. Think of Kraft Foods & US Security Associates of Georgia in February 2014. The jury awarded the families in excess of $46 million due to inadequate response during the incident.
Then you have to consider the cost to replace all of your equipment, carpets, wall paint, and the cleaning of your office even if it is not directly dirtied by blood or other bodily fluids. Don’t forget about the recruitment and hiring of new employees to replace those that may have been permanently disabled or killed not to mention traumatized. You could be looking at a bill exceeding several hundred thousand dollars at the minimum or hundreds of millions at the outside extreme.
You may scoff and say that insurance will cover it. But can you cover the increased costs of your insurance premiums? They can easily double, triple, or even quadruple. And if you are self-insured, then it could be much more costly.
Add up the costs if the average fatal incident does occur. With one person dead, 4 wounded, and about 25 employees traumatized and quitting. You are looking at a minimum cost of $12 MILLION. Can you cover that?
Then of course there is the damage to the company’s reputation, restoration of the name, getting back to production (roughly 6 – 8 weeks in most cases). And of course you have to provide grief counseling and ongoing psychological therapy for some employees.
But over and above that consider your most valuable assets, your employees. They are more than asset’s. They make your business run. And if statistics hold true, then you’ll lose about 33% of them after a fatal incident. And you could lose as many as 66% of them. That’s right 2\3 of them! And truthfully, who would want to work for a company that doesn’t seem to care about its people enough to do what was necessary to protect them (maybe you need to look at the OSHA guidelines)?
Then you have to think of the mental carnage and not just the physical. Those people will need help and will carry the scars long after the incident. Many will carry the loss of a wife, husband, mother, father, son, or daughter for their entire lives. Some knowing they could have done something but didn’t for whatever reason. And the anger will be directed at you and your ineptness, at least the lawsuit will say that.
Plausible deniability is not a defensible option anymore when you go to court to face the lawsuits. You can no longer claim you didn’t know when you get there. But. Remember, and I know you know this because you are an intelligent person, the OSHA guidelines on keeping a workplace safe and free from all danger, foreseeable or not.
And then your business comes under attack. How will you handle the negative publicity? What about when the press starts hounding you or your spokesman for a statement? And then of course when those valued employees start sharing pictures and words on twitter and Facebook?
In that case a former employee, pissed off significant other, or angry customer will be looking to take retribution on you and your employees and consequently your business. With no security officers, cameras that barely work and are never monitored with poor resolution, and you who thinks it can’t happen to you. Good Luck my naive executive, you’re gonna need it!
I know this letter has run a little longer than I intended and I also know I’ve repeated myself a couple of times. But isn’t repeating the known facts to get them across better than not knowing the risk of having blood splattered everywhere and the negative publicity?
Facebook.com/oneistoomany or Twitter: @robertsollars2
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear