Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quirky, heartfelt, and sad...

Saw The Descendants last evening at the Uptown Theater...

This drama is not quite so funny as the trailers suggest, dealing as it does with loss, betrayal, regret, terminal illness, death, parenting, aging, responsibility, our desire for second chances and our response when we are denied them.  George Clooney does a nice turn, but I was most impressed by the work displayed by young actors Shailene Woodley and Nick Krouse.

Here We Go Again

Workplace Violence on the Rise?

The following lead-in introduced a story that appeared on 8NewsNow in Las Vegas, NV. It was a tidy little article written by Reporter Jessica Lovell.

"LAS VEGAS -- Violence in the workplace is an unfortunate growing trend. On average, two people a day are killed as a result of workplace violence. That's why more and more businesses are turning to security companies to help educate their employees about the dangers."

In the article she quotes security consultant Steve Albrecht and Tom Donahue of Allied Barton Security among others.

Where have we heard this before?

I wrote to Ms. Lovell:

I read with interest your article “Workplace Violence on the Rise” which was picked up by "The Security Management Daily," a security news summary sent by Security Management to its subscribers worldwide.

There are some errors in your piece, which most likely arise from an unfortunate tendency of security professionals – especially those with something to sell – to use the raw numbers in a hyperbolic manner.

They tell you, "Violence in the workplace is an unfortunate growing trend."

Yet deaths due to workplace violence are near an all time since 1992 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the numbers.

They say, "On average, two people a day are killed as a result of workplace violence."

This is only true if we divide the number of workplace deaths in 2009 (the most recent year for which the records have been finalized) due to "Assaults and Violent Acts," 837, by 365, for a daily rate of 2.3. What most don’t tell you is that this BLS category includes suicides and animal attacks in addition to homicides.

Likewise, most alarmists are content to let their listeners believe workplace violence is most frequently perpetrated by customers, coworkers, or family members. In truth 75% of all workplace homicides are perpetrated in course of other crimes – frequently robberies of late night retail establishments, or assaults on police and security personnel.

The last important detail most miss by not considering self destructive behavior, is that unlike those due to workplace violence, suicide deaths at work are on the rise.

This behavior of my peers, whether due to ignorance or in the course of cynical manipulation, is a pet peeve of mine. I have dealt with it on several occasions at my blog, most recently hereThere you will find links to the BLS statistics I’ve cited in this email...

Ms. Lovell replied within minutes.  She was receptive to my criticism and interested in learning more.  We'll talk next week.

UPDATE: I haven't heard from Reporter Lovell but it's a busy news week I'm sure, even in Las Vegas.  I sent her a note though:

Here are some sources of statistics that are a little more dispassionate than those you were provided the other week.

The work is hard enough without the security pros getting excited.

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