Reports say the shooter who killed three others and himself at ABB Group in St. Louis was a retiree who was part of a lawsuit against the company, and he apparently had a gripe against his former employer.
Timothy Hendron, the shooter, was among several employees suing ABB for “unreasonable and excessive fees” on their retirement benefits.
Hendron had worked at the company for 23 years.
In an article in the Christian Science Monitor, workplace violence expert Larry Chavez says the downturn in the economy may be creating more violent episodes at work.
Chavez says Hendron fit the profile of many people who have killed people at their workplace: He’s male (95% are in these cases), had no previous signs of violent behavior and was a veteran employee.
Why are veteran employees more likely to become violent at work? It’s because they often feel something has put their entire career at stake.
Earlier this year while he was interim OSHA director, Jordan Barab, now the No. 2 person at the agency, said one of his priorities was to get OSHA back into workplace violence.
There’s no OSHA standard on workplace violence, but the agency has made it clear that it can issue citations in such cases under the General Duty Clause.
To prevent workplace violence, OSHA says companies should:
- clearly communicate a zero tolerance policy for workplace violence
- encourage employees to report violent incidents
- develop a security plan for each facility, and
- reiterate management’s commitment to a non-violent workplace.