'When in Doubt, Confer'

Our final 2012 webinar reinforced the point that safety managers must use a team approach to address the potential for violence at their workplaces.

I hope you attended our final 2012 webinar. Superbly presented Dec. 6 by Dr. Kristine Kienlen and Stacy L. Bettison, "Every Employer is Vulnerable: Assessing and Preventing Workplace Violence" was highly informative and engaging from start to finish. This tandem presentation by Minneapolis professionals Kienlen, a forensic psychologist who is president of Minnesota Threat Assessment & Forensic Professionals, Inc., and Bettison, a communications strategist and president of Bettison Consulting LLC, reinforced their point that safety managers must use a team approach to address the potential for violence at their workplaces. As Kienlen said, "When in doubt, confer.... It takes a village."

She discussed the Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention American National Standard produced by ASIS and SHRM in 2011. Available at http://www.shrm.org/templatestools/documents/item_1967_wvpi%20std.pdf, the ASIS/SHRM WVPI.1-2011 standard provides a working definition of workplace violence and explains how to establish multidisciplinary involvement, how to assess vulnerabilities, how to develop and implement a prevention and intervention program, threat response and incident management, as well as post-incident management.

Bettison offered advice for communicating with and informing employees. This webinar took place three months after a Minneapolis worker with no prior history of making threats shot eight people at his plant, and then himself, immediately after being fired, and Bettison warned her audience that no prevention plan is certain to stop someone who is bent on committing an act of violence. "There are some times when it doesn’t matter what you do as an employer,” Bettison said. “Some things are out of your control."

Their respective websites are www.mnprotect.com and www.bettison.com.

The webinar is still available, free of charge, to anyone who is interested in watching and hearing it. You'll find it at the top of the page where our on-demand webinars are listed: http://ohsonline.com/webcasts/list/webinars.aspx.

This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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