Monday, October 24, 2011

Half A Loaf Is Better Than None

I guess...

According to ASIS:

This Standard provides an overview of policies, processes, and protocols that organizations can adopt to help identify and prevent threatening behavior and violence affecting the workplace, and to better address and resolve threats and violence that have actually occurred. This Standard describes the personnel within organizations who typically become involved in prevention and intervention efforts; outlines a proactive organizational approach to workplace violence focused on prevention and early intervention; and proposes ways in which an organization can better detect, investigate, manage, and - whenever possible - resolve behavior that has generated concerns for workplace safety from violence. The Standard also describes the implementation of a Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention Program, and protocols for effective incident management and resolution.

I've been looking forward to the results of this collaboration so I read the standard with enthusiasm.  Having done so I've come away with half a loaf, so to speak.

The Good News:

The new ANSI national standard was put together by many of the top names in the business and does a solid job outlining a corporate response to threats and violence by coworkers and former coworkers (Type III), and family members, friends, and associates (Type IV). It emphasizes the value of a cross-disciplinary team and a broad-spectrum response when assessing and responding to threats within the business.  To the degree that this sort of violence is what most people, employers, and the news media think of when they hear the term "workplace violence" the standard is a move in the right direction.

The Bad News:

Unfortunately, the new ANSI national standard pays but the briefest of lip service to violence perpetrated by criminals – especially during robberies (Type I) or clients, customers, and patients (Type II). Violence by criminals accounts for 75% of all homicides at work. Violence by patients in health care and social services, especially in mental health setting, accounts for the bulk of injuries to employees (and until recently has long been the only category of workplace violence subject to specific OSHA regulation). By not addressing the prevention of or response to these issues in any way the new standard ignores the majority of the problem of workplace violence.

No mention of suicide:

The standard does not even mention the word, let alone examine the idea that some troubled employees end their lives at work.  The 263 suicides in 2009 represent roughly a third of all workplace deaths due to "assault and violent acts."  There are twice as many suicides at work as there are Type II, III, and IV deaths combined.  Why the silence?

I look forward to learning more about why it played out this way and if there is any hope the standard will be broadened to address all aspects of workplace violence.

UPDATE: I corresponded with a friend and peer who served on one of the standard's development committees.  He agreed Type I was left hanging, but makes a good case that Type II offenders can be addressed using this model.  When I think on it further the behaviors exhibited by many clients and customers can be a lot like Type III violence.  Still, attacks and injuries in the health care setting - especially in custodial units - remains more like Type I violence.  My friend was pleased the standard turned out as well as it did on the first pass given the size and scope of the project, three associations in the mix, strict standards criteria, hundreds of participants, and four years of development.  Fair enough.

Radical Red Potato Salad

A good friend of ours brought a delightful potato salad to Labor Day dinner...

As you might guess he's been busy at the Occupy event here in the Twin Cities, but I finally got him to toe the line, return to his desk, put his nose to the grindstone, and submit to my recipe request.  So, without further delay, here is the Eclectic Breakfast's first recipe post:

Below is the very confidential potato salad recipe. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.



- 6 medium red potatoes (better red than dead)

- 1/3 cup olive oil (liberated)

- 1 cup feta cheese (crumbled, as in "the vestiges of capitalism crumble into ruin")

- 2 tablespoons garlic powder (unless you're inviting the bourgeoisie parasite to dinner)

- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or just soured red wine, if you're a peasant)

- 2 tablespoons dill (generously)

- 1/2 cup scallion (optional, I didn't have any at the time)

- 6 diced black olives or 6 slices roasted red bellpepper (also optional, did not have any at the time, what with the war on and all)

- salt and pepper (freshly ground under a jackboot)


1. Put the potatoes in hot water and let them sweat. 18-20 minutes ought to suffice before they give in.

2. Chop, press, crumble, and otherwise "re-educate" whatever other ingredients are at hand.

3. Let the potatoes cool again. Once all that agitation is out of their systems, dice them into 3/4-inch cubes. You will find their resistance has lessened.

4. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and add the garlic salt. Allow them to return to "room temperature," as capitalist commentators call it; we prefer to call this process "mingling with the objective conditions."

5. Add feta and the optional scallions. Drizzle with vinegar. Add dill, salt, and pepper, and toss gently, just to show it who's boss.

6. Allow to rest for at least an hour. This way, the flavors mingle and can appreciate the full extent of your mercy.

7. Add an optional garnish (yuppie poseurs only).

Enjoy - but not too much, or else we'll accuse you of not sacrificing enough to the Party. And for Engel's sake, scrape your plate, there are starving marginalized children in Africa! ... and Asia ... and Europe ... and the Americas.

Photo credit Photos8