Washington Naval Yard Shooting

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Naval Yard Shooting Updates and Workplace Violence Prevention

The same company that investigated alleged Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis for his security clearance also did a 2011 follow-up investigation of Edward Snowden, the former NSA systems analyst who leaked documents about the National Security Agency.

The company, USIS, said in a statement Thursday it conducted Alexis’ background check in 2007 for the Office of Personnel Management but that it couldn’t elaborate.

“Today we were informed that in 2007, USIS conducted a background check of Aaron Alexis for [the Office of Personnel Management],” spokesman Ray Howell said. “We are contractually prohibited from retaining case information gathered as part of the background checks we conduct for OPM and therefore are unable to comment further on the nature or scope of this or any other background check.”

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Wednesday that he wants three rapid reviews of security clearance procedures completed by Oct. 1, including a review of Alexis’ service record to determine whether his conduct problems while in the Navy should have threatened his ability to keep his clearance.

Officials probing whether workplace dispute drove Navy Yard shooting

The gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday began his rampage by heading directly to the fourth floor, where he shot people who worked with him, and authorities are investigating whether a workplace issue sparked the killings, according to law enforcement officials and witness accounts.People in the department where Aaron Alexis was working had concerns about his job performance, and investigators are looking into whether those concerns escalated last week, the officials said.

Although workplace violence can often be unforeseen, it may often be the ultimate outcome of continued issues involving employees and/or management, or domestic issues that seep into the workplace.

Workplace Violence Whitepaper

There are steps to take to prevent workplace violence and to protect employees. Having a system to report workplace violence threats, or tell-tale signs of such is one way that organizations can intervene before a situation culminates into full violent incident. Eliminating violence in the workplace before it happens should be a top priority for every executive, manager and team leader.  Organizations should establish a workplace violence policy as part of their overall Business Continuity Programs.

Preventing violence calls for more than a routine or standard approach. Organizations and working conditions will vary from one company to another, as will the risks and challenges to employee safety.  Not all organizations will have the same resources, and not all management teams will have the same knowledge and experience on violence issues. That being said every organization should have general principles to guide your organization toward a successful approach to workplace violence prevention. Download and review Firestorm’s Workplace Violence Whitepaper to assure your organization is on the right path to protecting your employees.

Workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide. However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide.

Any definition of workplace violence must be broad enough to encompass the full range of behaviors that can cause injury, damage property, impede the normal course of work, or make workers, managers, and customers fear for their safety. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as, “violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assault, directed toward persons at work or on duty.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) expands this definition to the following: Workplace violence is any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting. It includes but is not limited to beatings, stabbings, suicides, shootings, rapes, near suicides, psychological traumas such as threats, obscene phone calls, an intimidating presence, and (including cyber-bullying) harassment of any nature such as being followed, sworn at or shouted at.

At the low end of the ASIS workplace violence spectrum above are disruptive, aggressive, hostile, or emotionally abusive behaviors that generate anxiety or create a climate of distrust, and that adversely affect productivity and morale. These behaviors of concern could – but will not necessarily – escalate into more severe behavior falling further along the workplace violence spectrum; however, independent of the question of possible escalation, these behaviors are in themselves harmful and, for that reason, warrant attention and effective intervention.

Further along the spectrum are words or other actions that are reasonably perceived to be intimidating, frightening, or threatening to employees and that generate a justifiable concern for personal safety. These behaviors include, among others, direct, conditional or veiled threats, stalking, and aggressive harassment.

Please, if you believe you may have an issue or are dedicated to assuring you are prepared, contact us.

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