We hear it all the time. We take classes at work for it. We read about it in the news. We have all heard the stories. But, are we really listening? Is a co-worker going to snap? Will they commit suicide or maybe hurt others at work? We are told what the warning signs are and how to look for them, so why aren’t we seeing them?
The German pilot that is suspected of purposely crashing a plane into mountains and killing the 150+ people on board seems to have had all of the warning signs with a recent breakup, illness, and work stress. In a more recent case, a recently terminated firefighter in Pennsylvania took four co-workers hostage and had a standoff with police. Why are we not seeing these things coming?
Are we complacent? Do we think it won’t happen to someone we know? Or, do we just not know enough about who will be become violent? It is true that it can be hard to determine who will become violent and attack co-workers and that employees have been sent to counselors, only to return to work and hurt or kill other employees.
The best thing we can do is look for the known warning signs and keep open communication with our co-workers flowing. Once warning signs are identified in a worker, it is important that they be evaluated quickly by a counselor to determine if they are truly a risk. If it is determined they are not a risk, it is still wise to monitor the employee as counselors don’t always get it right.
The best tool a manager can have, though, is other co-workers. Other co-workers are only good, however, if they report the issues. Bosses cannot ask employees to spy on each other, and if they do, you should find a new job. However, if you notice a co-worker is behaving oddly, your boss may not notice it, as they do not work together on a daily basis. You are in a better position to notice abnormal behaviors in your co-workers and should report them quickly and accurately. Otherwise, important information may go unnoticed by the people who can get help for an employee.
On the flip side of that coin, managers who are told about an employee who is acting in a manner that suggests potential violence need to observe the employee themselves and determine if further action is required. Because of this, front line supervisors and managers need to be properly trained to identify warning signs so that the proper actions can be taken quickly before injury occurs.
By knowing our co-workers, we can identify warning signs quicker and get the proper level of help to an at risk employee before people get hurt. We must understand that 8 out of 10 incidents had adequate warning signs that were unnoticed or ignored and that we cannot allow that to continue. Every year, lives are lost or forever changed because the warning signs were not properly acted upon, and that means that we have failed each other.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.