APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – Some two million Americans are the victims of workplace violence each year. That’s according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Thursday, Northeast Wisconsin businesses were learning how prevent it during the first annual workplace violence seminar. The focus of the day, recognizing the signs.
Violence in the workplace doesn’t discriminate.
According to Julie Russell from DIVERSIFIED Investigations, “Workplace violence hits everywhere. From the small business, maybe one to two person company all the way up to the major corporations. It has domestic violence tendencies, some mental health issues.”
And the focus of the seminar, put on by DIVERSIFIED Investigations and the Heart of the Valley Chamber, is how domestic violence affects the workplace. It could be small things like lost hours or troubling focusing for the victim. But, an extreme example of what could happen is the Azana Salon and Spa shooting in Brookfield, back in 2012. Three people were killed that day by the estranged husband of one of the victims, the shooter then took his own life.
“There were certainly some instances here where some people had some advanced notice that something might be going bad and didn’t call,” says Captain Tom Vento from the Brookfield Police Department.
Vento was on scene the day of the shooting. Today he urged people to not stay silent saying, “If you’re worried about somebody if you’re worried about an incident potentially happening, make the phone call, let law enforcement vet the information and hopefully prevent something like this from happening.”
It was an eye opening presentation for attendees who know vigilance is key.
Kathy Fandrey is the Vice President of Human Resources for Community First Credit Union. She says, “People are people, no matter what business they’re in and everybody goes through times in their lives which aren’t so good and it is looking for those signs and kind of keeping tabs on the employees and making sure they’re alright and showing our concern and maybe preventing things like this from happening if we can catch some of those warning signs ahead of time.”
There’s no way to know for sure, that if someone would have spoken up, the Azana incident wouldn’t have happened, but Julie Russell adds, “When it’s reported, we can help prevent it.”