Protect Your Workforce TM
There is nothing as damaging to a company’s reputation & employee morale as an act of workplace violence.
Many companies turn to Infortal when the risk or threats of workplace violence arise. Rapid response and professional threat assessment is essential. We provide professional threat risk assessment, armed protection specialists, and liaison with law enforcement agencies.
There are many steps an employer can take to prevent workplace violence incidents; see below.
What we do
You can count on Infortal when an incident occurs. Infortal specializes in threat risk assessment and providing armed protection for threat situations at work (workplace violence) and for executive protection during high-profile public events. We also provide armed escort and protection when your executives are travelling internationally, or at shareholder meetings if hostility is expected, or for other security and protection needs.
Infortal provides a professional threat assessment to evaluate the risks from a specific situation or threat. We will advise you based on a security threat assessment whether the risks are low, medium or high level risk to your people and your organization. It can be a very scary time, and often not all of the facts are well known or clearly identified. Let us help you to sort out what are the most important risk issues and help you to diffuse violence and protect your employees.
With over 30 years of conducting threat assessments for workplace violence, we understand the seriousness of workplace violence risks. We’ve created a quick navigation tool so you can drill down to what you need information on; see Prevention/ Intervention/ Preparedness boxes below. See also Signs of Workplace Violence
Most workplace threats can be prevented or diffused.
We have conducted threat assessments for over 30 years and work closely with law enforcement agencies (and forensic psychiatrists, where needed) to help minimize your threat level.
We will also work with your Executive team, Security, Facilities and HR teams to help diffuse potential risks to your people and facilities.
There are always warning signs in cases of workplace violence. Unfortunately, in many situations, these signs are ignored or not escalated internally in time for professional security expertise and armed specialists to intervene. Early intervention is critical to diffuse the threat or calm the situation down and protect the lives of your employees and coworkers.
Workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from
threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths.
Workplace violence threats occur far more frequently than is reported in news media. The news media typically report workplace violence issues when police SWAT teams are required or unfortunately where injuries or deaths occur. Most companies resolve workplace violence issues without engaging the press to avoid scandal or perception that the employer was to blame in any way.
According to OSHA 2 million Americans are victims of workplace violence each year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there were 453 workplace homicide victims in 2018.
Of those victims who died from workplace violence:
- 82% were male
- 47% were white
- 66% were aged 25 to 54
- 20% were working in sales and related occupations, 19% were performing protective service activities.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 20,790 workers in private industry experienced trauma from non-fatal workplace violence in 2018. These incidents required days away from work.
Of those victims who experienced trauma from workplace violence:
- 71% were female
- 64% were aged 25 to 54
- 73% worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry
- 20% required 31 or more days away from work to recover, and 21% involved 3 to 5 days away from work
Training is essential to understanding workplace violence and for recognizing the warning signs of violence. Executives, Human Resources staff, and security personnel at your company should be trained to recognize the warning signs of workplace violence annually.
Your company should also have a Zero Tolerance for Violence policy that is communicated to all employees. This policy needs to be actively reinforced by managers and supervisors on an ongoing basis; if management does not support this policy then threats may pass undetected or under-reported until a serious issue occurs. All threats in the workplace need to be taken seriously and reported to HR and management as quickly as possible so that the risk can be assessed by professionals.
Signs of Workplace Violence
Do you believe a coworker may be considering committing an act of violence against another person? Knowing the signs of workplace violence will help you identify risks and prevent employees and customers from being hurt. Some of these signs include the following:
- Making direct threats like “I’ll kill you in front of your coworkers”.
- Making veiled threats like “I know where you live” or “I know where you take your kids to school, go to the gym, etc”.
- Talking about using weapons or purchasing weapons.
- Agreeing with acts of violence by others in the news.
- Strange or bizarre language and/or behaviors
- Blaming others for their failures or other issues.
- Harassing others.
- Exhibiting suicidal tendencies or talking about feeling hopeless.
- Intimidating or bullying others excessively
- Exhibiting emotionally unstable behaviors
These are just a few of the early warning signs of workplace violence. Remember a professional threat risk assessment needs to be made, these items alone may not be sufficient to assess a developing situation.
To read more or to easily share this information with others, 25 Warning Signs of Workplace Violence.
Workplace Violence Intervention
What Should You Do If You’ve Experienced Workplace Threats?
If you feel as though you have been threatened with violence in your workplace or have experienced violence, you may not know where to turn. What can you do to keep yourself safe from coworkers or if the person threatening you is a supervisor, manager, or one of your company’s biggest customers? Understanding how to handle workplace threats is the first step in preventing violence towards yourself and others.
There are a number of types of threats that can occur in the workplace:
- Threats made by a coworker to another coworker
- Threats made by a customer to an employee
- Threats made by an employee to a customer
- Threats made by a supervisor to a subordinate
- Threats made by a coworker to a manager or executive
Let’s look at how each of these situations could be handled:
If a coworker threatens you, you will need to report the incident directly and as quickly as possible to HR and to your supervisor. Both federal and state OSHA laws require that your supervisor will take immediate steps to protect you. They will need to inquire what made you feel unsafe and if any threatening language was involved. They may temporarily remove you from working on joint projects that the other employee is involved in. It may also include physically moving your workspace, having you work remotely for a short period of time, or adjusting your hours until a full investigation can be made. HR should immediately begin this investigation by taking your statement and gathering statements from others if they witnessed these events.
If you believe that the coworker may become violent immediately, call 911 for an immediate police response. Then notify your manager and company security.
If you’re threatened by a customer, your first step should, again, be to contact your supervisor or department manager and explain your concerns for your personal safety and why you feel the customer is a potentially violent individual. They should work to ensure that you will not have contact with that customer again. Again, call the police if you feel that the person may be immediately violent.
While you may not be directly threatened in this situation, it’s still important that you report any threats made to a customer by a fellow employee. This employee may not stop at threatening customers. They could later threaten or attack another employee. At a minimum, they need to be removed from a customer-facing position and evaluated in a professional threat risk assessment to assess their propensity for violence. In addition to reporting this to your supervisor and HR, your company’s customer relations department will need to know that a client was threatened. The company’s legal counsel will also need to be notified as the customer may take legal action, especially if they were physically or verbally threatened or assaulted.
Threats made by your direct supervisor or by anyone higher up in the company often include a warning to remain quiet or be fired. These types of threats are intimidating, but you still need to report them. If the person was a higher-ranking employee in another department and you feel as though you can trust your supervisor, go to HR first. If your supervisor is the one threatening you, or if you feel that company politics would make your supervisor ineffective in this situation, go straight to human resources. No one should ever make you feel unsafe at work, regardless of what position they hold.
Coworkers can make threats to their supervisors, managers or executives. If you witness this behavior you need to report it. There are many instances where coworkers think the other person is “just blowing off steam” and may not take the threatening language seriously. This is a mistake. Threats can happen to anyone. At a minimum, the threatening coworker needs to be evaluated in a professional threat risk assessment to assess their propensity for committing an act of violence.
Why It’s Important to Report Threats Quickly
Many people who commit violence in the workplace may be in a situation where they cannot cope with stress or are struggling with a mental illness that leaves them acting in ways they normally would not. The person may take medications that help them to cope better but for one reason or another have stopped taking these medications. For example they may become more reactive or agitated over time and find it increasingly difficult to cope, then may start to behave more erratically. If you notice serious behavioral changes by a coworker it may be helpful to discuss this with your supervisor.
However, if you notice bizarre behavior, or escalating threatening language, then notify HR or company management immediately so that the person and situation can be professionally assessed. This is not to defend anyone who commits workplace violence or makes excuses. There is never any excuse for violence in the workplace.
There are many cases where coworkers noticed that ‘something was off’ with an individual, but no one wanted to be seen as overreacting or accusing someone of being a violent person. Unfortunately, some of these cases involve violence because the individual never received help and eventually acted out their threatened behaviors. Had HR or the person’s supervisor been notified, they may have been able to diffuse these situations before anyone was hurt.
By reporting any threatening behavior, HR and the individual’s supervisor can become involved. They can look into the individual’s behaviors and make recommendations to have an external professional security team make a threat risk assessment. They may suggest the person seek medical help or be placed on a leave of absence for a short period of time. Regardless of the solution, your company should be advised that there are concerns for potential violence at work.
A company cannot act on information they don’t have. If you feel that someone is not acting normally, take note of it and pass that information on to a supervisor or HR. Even if you don’t feel as though there’s anything of serious concern, write out what occurred as soon as you can. This way, if the person’s behavior continues, you have documented notes to turn over to HR. Remember, the sooner you report the risk of violence, the more likely it is that no one will be hurt and the situation can be diffused.
Protect your people and secure your assets
What do you get?
To benefit from our Protection Programs, please contact us.
- Armed Protection Details
- Workplace Violence Training
- How To Recognize The Warning signs
- Workplace Violence policy
- Crisis Management Plans
- Threat Risk Assessment
- Executive Protection
- Detailed Threat Assessment Background Check (of threatener)
- Law enforcement liaison
- Post Incident analysis
- Threat Diffusion Techniques
When does harassing and intimidating office talk become more than that?
What constitutes threatening talk and threatening behavior?
What is the difference between a veiled threat and a direct threat?
What should you do about these situations?
How should you prepare for a layoff or terminate a potentially aggressive or violent employee?
Train your employees to recognize the warning signs & how to escalate concerns within your company.
Implement a Crisis Management Team or Crisis Response Team.
Work with highly trained professionals to evaluate threats and risk situations.
Remember regular security guards can only observe and report; they are not trained to deal with violent situations and people carrying weapons.
Infortal’s highly trained armed specialists carry concealed weapons and are trained for effective response, yet also know how to calm down a person who may be behaving aggressively to prevent further.
Workplace Violence Protection (Armed Protection Specialists)
Sometimes bad things do happen to good people and the statistics are sobering:
- Some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence every year.
- According to NIOSH these acts result in 240,000 injuries each year with approximately 1,000 fatalities. Each non-fatal incident costs approximately $250,000 in lost productivity, losses and legal fees.
- Homicide remains the third leading cause of fatal occupational injuries for all workers and remains the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries for women.
Preparation and training are key to having your employees effectively identify and escalate problem behavior to management levels.
If they do not know how to communicate these issues and do not recognize the warning signs of impending violent behavior then you may be faced with an extreme situation that may have been avoidable.