Apr 10 2008

Pulled up on pranks

from Star News Group AUSTRALIA - Employers and workers need to take a zero-tolerance approach to workplace initiations and pranks which can lead to serious injury and potentially death, WorkSafe Victoria says. “Extra vigilance is needed at this time of year when large numbers of young and inexperienced workers are joining the workforce,” WorkSafe general manager Eric Windholz said. “All too often, a moment of recklessness results in disaster. There is no room for violence in any workplace. “Everyone has a responsibility to ensure their workplace is as safe as practicable.” Victoria’s workplace health and safety laws require employers to provide and maintain a safe workplace and provide appropriate training and supervision. “Employees have a responsibility to work in a safe way and not put themselves or others at risk. “Supervisors have an important role to play in setting and maintaining clear standards of behaviour at work,” Mr Windholz said. “As we see so often in the media, young people do not have the same insight as adults. They often do not appreciate the consequences of what they are doing.” Mr Windholz said young workers between 15 and 25 had the highest proportion of work-related injury and a higher rate of hospitalisation than other age groups. WorkSafe has prosecuted a number of cases where people have endangered themselves and others through dangerous pranks. Employers, workers or parents needing help can call WorkSafe on 1800 136 089. Publications on the prevention of occupational violence and bullying are available on the WorkSafe website www.worksafe.vic.gov.au or by calling the Advisory Service on 1800 136 089. Add This Bookmark [ad#post-1]

Permanent link to this article: http://workplaceviolencenews.com/pulled-up-on-pranks/

Apr 10 2008

Ind. SC tells cardiac surgeon to pay up

By John O'Brien, LegalNewsline.com INDIANAPOLIS - A $325,000 judgment was appropriate compensation for an argument between a so-called "workplace bully" and a co-worker, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The Court affirmed the figure, based on the trial court's finding that Dr. Daniel Raess, a cardiovascular surgeon, assaulted co-worker Joseph Doescher at St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove. Raess believed that not enough evidence existed from the incident to support the finding of assault and claimed the award was excessive. "To the contrary, there is substantial evidence or reasonable inferences to support the jury's conclusions that an assault occurred, that the defendant acted with the requisite intent, and that the plaintiff's reaction was reasonable," Justice Brent Dickson wrote. Doescher worked as an operating room perfusionist, operating a heart/lung machine during open heart surgeries, and reported Raess to the hospital administration about his treatment of other perfusionists. Raess claimed that Doescher advanced on him "with clenched fists, piercing eyes, beet-red face, popping veins, and screaming and swearing at him," the opinion says. "The plaintiff backed up against a wall and put his hands up, believing that the defendant was going to hit him... Then the defendant suddenly stopped, turned and stormed past the plaintiff and left the room, momentarily stopping to declare to the plaintiff, 'You're finished. You're history.'" That testimony, the Court said, satisfied the burden of proof needed to support the assault claim. Doescher was denied on claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with employment and punitive damages. As for the award, the Court did not agree that the Doescher should have been denied any compensatory damages because his infliction of emotional distress claim failed. Doescher claimed the incident detrimentally affected his career and earning capacity, as well as his ability to interact with his wife. "Evidence was presented that, as of the time of the trial, the plaintiff could not return to his work as a perfusionist because of the resulting emotional response, lack of focus, lack of confidence and inability to make split-second decisions," Dickson wrote. Both sides used psychiatrists to make their points, but the Court quoted case law that stated, "(I)f there is any evidence in the record which supports the amount of the award, even if it is variable or conflicting, the award will not be disturbed." Only Justice Theodore Boehm disssented. He believed the testimony of Dr. Gary Namie was inadmissible. Namie referred to Raess as a "workplace bully," which the defense had moved to have him barred from doing. The motion was denied in part and granted in part. Boehm said the trial court allowed questioning related to "workplace bullying" even though it had warned Namie not to talk about it. His testimony, therefore, was prejudicial, Boehm said. "Nowhere... does Dr. Namie explain what a workplace bully is," Boehm wrote. "Dr. Namie by his own testimony is not a clinical psychologist and is not qualified to testify as to how workplace bullying affected the plaintiff, and he did not testify on that subject. "This is testimony characterizing an event, but offering no assistance to interpret or understand it. Without any context, the 'workplace bullying' label is nothing more than highly prejudicial name-calling of no help to the jury." Add This Bookmark [ad#post-1]

Permanent link to this article: http://workplaceviolencenews.com/ind-sc-tells-cardiac-surgeon-to-pay-up/

Apr 09 2008

Randolph shooter had been acting strangely, boss says

from John P. Kelly, Randolph Herald Howard Trang had been plagued for months by sleepless nights and suspected that someone was poisoning him, his boss said. Last Monday, March 31, he called in sick to work at Alloy Fabricators of New England. The following day, he showed up with a gun, shot a co-worker twice then drove away and turned the gun on himself. Police have not said whether they believe Trang’s struggle with insomnia may have triggered the workplace shooting followed by Trang’s apparent suicide in his truck less than two miles away on a wooded, dead-end road. The man he shot, Jean Dure, a 52-year-old Haitian immigrant who lives in Weymouth, was listed in critical condition and scheduled to undergo his second surgery to remove a second bullet lodged in his abdomen. The eldest of Dure’s three sons, Vladimir Dure, 23, said family members were keeping vigil at Caritas Good Samaritan in Brockton, where his father was in intensive care. “We have no idea,” Dure said, when asked why Trang, 48, a Vietnamese immigrant who lived in Dorchester, might have wanted to kill his father. “I’m still trying to find out myself.” Though the motive remained a mystery, the basic facts of the crime appeared clear. The two men, both welders, had arrived at work by 7 a.m. Tuesday and were alone in a locker room adjoining Alloy Fabricators’ 1,500-square-foot workshop, company President Christian Dietz said. Many of the 13 other factory workers heard a “pop” and then Dure yell out that he’d been shot, he said. The workers called 911. Police arrived to find Dure had been shot twice in the mid-section, one of the bullets having first passed through his arm. Trang, who had fled, was found dead about an hour later on Walsh Street, a secluded road that dead ends at Great Pond. Police found a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the vehicle. Randolph Police Chief Paul Porter said a resident had called police to report an abandoned truck with its engine still running. At Alloy Fabricators, workers were told to take the day off. Dietz, who stayed at the shop, said he had noticed no telltale signs of conflict between the two men, who had both worked there for several years. But Dietz said Trang had struggled with an “unknown medical condition” since the fall that left him unable to sleep. He had taken significant time off, including for a month-long trip to Vietnam in February, which Dietz said he had hoped would provide some needed rest and relaxation. “He was definitely hurting,” Dietz said of Trang, who was married with no children. “He was not working as well as he did at one time.” Two weeks ago, Dietz said, a rumor circulated through the workshop that Trang felt his insomnia might have been brought on by someone poisoning him. Trang called in sick Monday. Dietz said he urged him over the phone to have doctors pinpoint his health disorder so he might be placed on short-term disability. Dietz said he couldn’t picture Dure instigating a dispute, describing him as a “wonderful, hard-working, quiet man,” who raised three sons alone since his wife died of breast cancer several years ago. “He has gone through a lot of things in this life and he does it with quiet dignity,” Dietz said. He said Dure is a naturalized U.S. citizen who had worked at the company nearly a dozen years, putting in about 50 hours a week. Dure’s brother-in-law, Joseph Cantave, 53, stood on the front stoop of his house on Warren Street in Randolph hours after the shooting Tuesday and said he hoped Jean makes it. “I feel real bad for the guy,” Cantave, an ironworker, said. The shooting added to a streak of violence in Randolph that includes, most recently, a nightclub stabbing Sunday and an apparent drive-by shooting early Monday. No one was injured when someone shot at a first-floor apartment on West Street in which a man, a woman and a 6-year-old boy were sleeping. On the same day of the workplace shooting, Randolph voters approved a $411,322 override for the police department, plus $5.48 million for the schools and $200,000 for the fire department. It’s the first time town voters have approved overrides of Proposition 21/2. Add This Bookmark [ad#post-1]

Permanent link to this article: http://workplaceviolencenews.com/randolph-shooter-had-been-acting-strangely-boss-says/

Apr 09 2008

Preemployment Background Screening Guideline

from ASIS International The 45 day public review and comment period for a proposed revision of the current Preemployment Background Screening Guideline closes April 16, 2008 at 24:00 EDT. Comments must be submitted via the online Comment Form. All comments are important and will be considered. Your participation is strongly encouraged! For more information on ASIS Standards and Guidelines, click here. [ad#post-1]

Permanent link to this article: http://workplaceviolencenews.com/preemployment-background-screening-guideline-2/

Apr 09 2008

Preventing School Shootings: Ninety-two percent of students surveyed believe completely preventing shootings is impossible.

from Andy Steinke, The Minnesota Daily On April 16, 2007, a student at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 students and staff before killing himself to end the biggest school shooting rampage in U.S. history. On Feb. 14, 2008, a former Northern Illinois University student entered a classroom at that university, killing five people and wounding many more before taking his own life. In both instances, the gunman was a threat to other students on campus. In one case, the student was suicidal and had met with the school's counselors to discuss those issues; in the other case, the gunman was a seemingly model citizen. The Minnesota Daily's Safety and Security Survey found many University students are worried about a similar incident happening here, but most feel a shooting is unpreventable, regardless of the individual pulling the trigger. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they were concerned a school shooting could happen at the University, but 92 percent said completely preventing a school shooting is impossible. Psychology and communications senior Katie Katoski said she thinks there wouldn't be any fewer school shootings, even if the school knew a student was having a problem. But she questioned why a student with that level of problems would still be in school. "If someone's at that point, they shouldn't be in school," she said of students considering bringing a gun to campus. But how is the University to determine which students are risks to others? Should the burden to inform the school of a potential problem fall on the shoulders of professors or teaching assistants or the student's parents? Students were split exactly in half when asked if parents should be required to inform the school of a problem, but were more disparate when it came to school staff. Seventy-one percent of students said professors and teaching assistants should be required to inform the school of a student's emotional or behavioral problems. Only 29 percent thought they shouldn't be. Katoski said she agrees with the minority on that issue. "I think that a lot of times a teacher doesn't know a student well enough to know what's going on," she said. "It would be frustrating for a student to have someone butting into their personal life." Parents should determine on a case-by-case basis whether to tell the school of their child's problems, she said. "If there's something that's a safety concern for others, then I think it's just a moral thing to inform others of their risk," she said. "But how would the school monitor it?" Faculty can request assistance in dealing with troubled students, but said there is no formal policy requiring faculty to report a student to the school, University spokesman Dan Wolter said. Faculty are required to maintain a safe classroom environment, however, and if that means reporting a student's potentially threatening actions or behaviors then they must take that action, he said. Add This Bookmark [ad#post-1]

Permanent link to this article: http://workplaceviolencenews.com/preventing-school-shootings-ninety-two-percent-of-students-surveyed-believe-completely-preventing-shootings-is-impossible/

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