Issue Area – Workplace Violence

Each year in the U.S., approximately two million people are the victims of non-fatal violence in the workplace.  Another 1,000 people each year are the victims of homicide making workplace violence the leading cause of fatal workplace injury.*

What can you do to prepare for and, hopefully, prevent workplace violence?

Understand Your Organization’s Readiness

Not sure exactly where your program stands or already know you could use a jumpstart?  We recommend either of the following approaches:

Workplace Violence Tabletop Exercise: Tabletops, a critical component in ensuring you have a practiced capability, can also serve as a great evaluation tool for organizations at either end of the program spectrum. For new programs, they can increase awareness; help you understand what formal or informal expectations may exist in your organization; and provide an expedited process to gain agreement and consensus on tangible next steps. For more mature program, tabletops can reinvigorate engagement while helping you determine if the program remains up to current “best-practice” standards.

Tabletop Exercises:

  • Provide a learning opportunity on the key issues and dynamics of workplace violence events
  • Validate planning assumptions, team capabilities and overall understanding of your approach
  • Raise awareness about the importance of the program
  • Focus on leadership expectations, information flow and coordination, policy and decision-making, legal and reputational risk
  • Demonstrate the seriousness with which you take the workplace violence prevention and effective  policy implementation

Workplace Violence Risk Assessment: While assessing the likelihood of a workplace violence incident occurring cannot be done in a precise, predictive way; what is possible to assess is your organization’s ability to detect risk in specific situations and to respond in a way that mitigates the threat or minimizes the impact of the incident.

Risk Assessments:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your current prevention program including your prevention capabilities (awareness, reporting procedures, team readiness, threat assessment procedures, etc.) and your security vulnerability/emergency preparedness (situation specific procedures, location metrics, coordination procedures, training, etc.)
  • Identify potential gaps in the program which may need additional support
  • Provide strategic recommendations to move forward with your program

Additional WPV Program Options:

  • Plan Development
  • “Go” Teams Development
  • Psychological Counseling

WPV Programs in Context

Preparing for the possibility of a workplace violence event is crucial; however, it’s also important to think about your preparation in the broader context of reputational risk management.   This is because your team’s response to a crisis—including an incident of workplace violence—can have a larger impact on the business viability and reputation of your organization than the underlying event or issue itself.  Managed poorly and the response is going to be remembered and the reputational damage significant.  Managed well and the reputation of the organization and its leadership can be burnished.

Learn more about our approach to Reputational Risk Management >

The BMCG Team

Our team has extensive experience, pioneered many of the concepts integral to effective workplace violence, humanitarian assistance, crisis management and preparedness.

Bob Wilkerson, Senior Advisor, Crisis Management

With over 30 years of experience in corporate preparedness, Bob’s healthcare experience includes crisis management, pandemic readiness (including Ebola), humanitarian assistance, and workplace violence prevention programs.  Recently, he has supported the Government of Mexico and a number of companies operating in Mexican Border communities as well as major health care systems focused on security management and workplace violence prevention.

Beginning with his years at FEMA, Bob has acted as a national advisor to government and corporations on violence and terrorism.  He was Chief of the Technological Hazards Division at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and also served as Director of Public Safety for the State of Florida.  In these roles he personally led response efforts to major natural disasters, civil disorders and infrastructure disruptions. He is the originator of key components of corporate preparedness, such as tabletops, humanitarian assistance, and strategic management of preparedness programs.  Bob pioneered the concept of crisis management as an integrated management process. Bob founded the first consultancy devoted entirely to corporate crisis management, which continued as the largest such firm for over 15 years, representing leading global corporations.

Dr. Larry Bergmann, PhD, Senior Consultant

Larry has over 30 years of experience in working with individuals, families and organizations exposed to life-threatening and traumatic events such as crime victimization, industrial accidents, natural disasters, and combat. He has developed violence prevention programs for businesses and public entities, provided training to more than 100 organizations, trained threat management teams, served as an expert witness in violence related litigation and clinically assessed potentially violent employees.  He has assisted more than 25 corrections departments, businesses and communities and served as a consultant to National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Victims of Crime, National Academy of Science and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

As a mental health counselor in private practice in Columbia, South Carolina, Larry focuses on the treating individuals suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other stress related syndromes, specifically from traumas in the workplace.  Larry is widely published on various aspects of humanitarian assistance and psychological post-traumatic stress and has provided training, expert witness services and consulting to public and private agencies throughout the United States.

Simon Barker, Managing Partner

Simon Barker is Managing Partner at Blue Moon Consulting Group.  Prior to founding Blue Moon, he was a senior vice president in Marsh & McLennan’s Reputational Risk & Crisis Management practice.  Simon provides issues and crisis management advice and counsel to clients spanning a broad range of high profile events, including mass casualty events, workplace violence, stalking, policing, protests and civil disobedience, natural disasters and a broad range of ethical, financial and social issues.

He brings this “hands-on” experience and applies it to clients in advance of a crisis or issue and has developed crisis management, crisis communications and workplace violence prevention plans and programs for clients in the higher education, healthcare, technology, and retail industries.


*Department of Labor