TAL Global Perspectives: Workplace Violence

In this TAL Global Perspective, Mike Keenan and Oscar Villanueva discuss workplace violence, how to prevent it and how to mitigate it should it occur.

This short video is important for both administrators and their staff.

Click here or on the image below to watch the video be sure and let us know your thoughts.  Below the image is the transcript.


workplace violence


MIKE: Hello, I’m Mike Keenan and welcome to the TAL Global Perspective. Our topic today is workplace violence and things you can do to mitigate that. Our speaker is Oscar Villanueva. He is the COO of TAL Global. Welcome, Oscar. It’s great to have you.

OSCAR: Hello, Mike. Thank you for having me on. Appreciate it.

MIKE: So, you have an interesting background. You spent 22 years and then retired from the US Postal Service. I know that during that time, you did a lot of investigations, but many were around workplace violence, active assailant, and things along those lines. I know you have gained expertise there. But I’ve been in the industry for a while, and as I look back, I remember that when there was violence in the workplace, they used to refer to it as going postal. But anyway, you left there, and you became a consultant, and you have been providing security services to companies and governments worldwide with expertise in this area.

I want to pick your brain on some things you can recommend helping mitigate, prevent, and respond to these situations.

OSCAR: Sure. Thank you, Mike. I appreciate that question. Yes, I did spend a lot of time in the US Postal Inspection Service, and I remember the days of going postal. The Postal Service was having many workplace violence issues in the news, and it became very distracting to employees and the organization. So we ended up, as an organization, coming up with a few solutions to stop that situation, which was very disruptive to the organization. So I’ve been doing this for a long, long time.

You mentioned the Postal Inspection Service, where I spent 22 years and then as a consultant for the past ten years. And I’ve seen lots and lots of ways of trying to prevent, mitigate, and work on this issue. And it seems like the top three methods or things that an organization can do include:

  1. Putting together a workplace violence program.
  2. Ensuring that they train their employees, managers, and supervisors separately.
  3. Ensuring their facilities are secure.

So far, that has been the top three things I have seen work well with many different organizations in different industries and sizes.

MIKE: Excellent. That makes a lot of sense. Can you go into some detail about what you recommend a company should do?

OSCAR: Yes. As I mentioned, the first order of business I would suggest is putting together a workplace violence prevention, mitigation, and management program. That document would include a policy regarding how the organization will handle workplace violence issues, procedures, and responsibilities for who does what. It may even have threat management team procedures in there, how to investigate incidents, and it’s like a playbook of what to do should a threat occur, or maybe a physical assault happens, or even an active assailant situation occurs for that particular organization.

Putting that together for any organization of any size would be a priority. Then after doing that, I would suggest that the best thing an organization can do as a second part of this three-part approach and strategy would be to provide training on workplace violence, security, and situational awareness to all employees. Everyone needs to be socialized on the importance of workplace violence, how these things occur, what triggers and warnings are, and how to manage them and deal with them if something does happen. And having everybody be a part of that is essential. There should also be training separately for managers and supervisors so that they can understand how to intake complaints, what to do with intelligence that comes to them from employees, and how to manage situations when they do occur.

Does that make sense so far?

MIKE: Oscar. I agree 100%. There is a definite responsibility for management that is different than for employees. Providing separate training is the way to go. And then your third point was about the importance of securing facilities. Please go into more detail on that.

OSCAR: Well, yes. If you have a workplace violence program and you’ve trained everybody, all of that can be defeated if you have weak security at your facility. An active assailant may have less of a problem getting in. Criminal attacks become a little bit easier when you don’t have a safe and secure facility. And this could be an office setting. It could be a manufacturing plant. It could be a retail location. It could be any setting. Security is vital as the third leg of a three-legged stool for workplace violence.

And so the thing to do with the security of a facility is to make sure that, at least every year, you conduct an assessment of your security stamps. That may include security countermeasures, how people come in and out of the facility, visitor management, looking at the perimeter of the parking lot, and looking at prior incidents that have occurred at that facility that will help you come up with a strategy as to what to do going forward if you find some weaknesses in your security. So that’s the third part of this strategy that I’m suggesting is the best for anyone to use, which is to create a workplace violence program, make sure that everyone is trained, all employees and then leadership separately, and then finally, make sure your facility is secure.

If you follow those three actions and that strategy, your organization can be in an exceptionally good place when it comes to minimizing workplace violence prevention.

MIKE: Well, thank you, Oscar. That was very insightful and a good perspective on this topic. I want to ask anyone that wants to look at our website, www.talglobal.com to take a look at our services and our team, of which Oscar is one of our leaders. And remember, stay alert and stay safe. Thank you.

© TAL Global, 2019