By Mark A. Lies, II, ed.; Reviewed by Scott Yost, CPP
An uneven collection of articles on preventing workplace violence that nevertheless offers worthwhile information on decreasing its likelihood.
** Preventing and Managing Workplace Violence: Legal and Strategic Guidelines. Mark A. Lies, II, editor; published by the American Bar Association, www.abanet.org (Web); 250 pages; $55.95.
Like every other security professional involved in the protection of critical infrastructure, I am always thinking about ways to limit the risk of a terrorist attack on my company’s assets. However, the terrorist threat is not what keeps me awake at night. What worries me is the disgruntled ex-employee who is looking for vengeance against his former boss; the angry husband who thinks that his wife is having an affair with her supervisor; or the upset customer who threatens to come down to your place of business and settle things face to face.
Preventing and Managing Workplace Violence: Legal and Strategic Guidelines is a reference book for those, like me, responsible for addressing workplace violence issues on behalf of their employer. The book’s contributors do a good job of defining workplace violence and identifying all the settings in which it normally occurs. The text explains how to recognize potential warning signs and what to do when you spot a potential risk.
Because this work is a collection, with each section written by a different contributor, the book does not flow as well as if it had a single author. Each expert has his or her own writing style. Some of the information is practical and easy to understand, while other information is a bit convoluted and hard to grasp.
The best chapters address the different types of workplace violence, what prompts people to act violently in workplace settings, and how to conduct a site security assessment. These chapters in particular can help the reader build an understanding of the workplace violence issue.
Am I going to sleep better after reading this book? No. But the information it offers is worthwhile. If used in conjunction with other strategies to combat workplace violence, it will help any security professional establish a program that can both decrease the likelihood of an incident and increase the company’s ability to handle one if it does occur.
Reviewer: Scott Yost, CPP, is a security manager for EPCOR Utilities Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is an ex-provincial sheriff who spent 9 years working in training and development. He is a member of ASIS.