Does violence in the workplace worry you?

If you can hold onto your job, should you be worried about that co-worker who didn’t? With headlines screaming about workplace violence some say they do worry.
Considering the news lately that has shown a violent wave of mass murders in the United States that worry may be well founded. Reports of multiple killings have spanned North America during this recession. Some companies have followed former employees because they fear what their actions will be.

Shanghai Daily reports:

“Tough times will cause people to do crazy things,” said Kenneth Springer, whose company Corporate Resolutions Inc did the surveillance. “People are taking more precautions.”

Does this increased violence mean that workers take up karate or another means of protecting themselves? For the health benefit it’s not a bad idea but for safety in the workplace it may not be needed. Karate chops still don’t stop a bullet. Being aware though of negative feelings of co-workers may though be an indicator of danger. reports:

“People aren’t mushrooms sitting in a dark closet by themselves and all of a sudden one day explode,” Cawood said. “If you listen and observe what they’re actually doing and saying, they’re communicating.”

James Cawood, a security expert says he has been doing more training now than in recent years.

“People are flat out concerned,” said James Cawood, a security expert and author of “Violence Assessment and Intervention: the Practitioner’s Handbook.”

“People who are staying in companies where there has been significant downsizing … are worried at every level. Even in down economic times, I’m doing more training now than I’ve done in years.”

The pressures from job losses and economic hardship may be the reason behind the violent incidents in the news lately.

Workplace Violence News reports:

“Most of these mass killings are precipitated by some catastrophic loss, and when the economy goes south, there are simply more of these losses,” says Jack Levin, a noted criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston.

Experts say that you shouldn’t worry about everyone who loses their jobs turning into a mass murderer. Though some former co-workers could be suspect if they have already had mental and anger problems in the past.

Canoe reports Richard Earle, director of the Canadian Institute of Stress, said uncertainty — like that caused by economic chaos and job loss — is the main factor in stress elevation.

“Humans respond to uncertainty very badly,” said Earle. “Under high stress, people always catastrophize.”

Those who have gone on to commit acts of violence tend to have said they would before they do.

It’s safest to not fear your workplace. Fear is one of the key elements that can make matters worse according to Joel Shults, head of public safety at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado.

“It makes it hard to tell ourselves that we’re safe because they seem like such ordinary people in such ordinary circumstances,” Shults said. “It’s hard for us to tell ourselves, no, that’s not going to happen us.”

Ironically, he added, a heightened sense of fear can make matters worse. “That might potentially actually increase the number of people snapping. It’s one more thing to worry about,” he said


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