Skip to content

Keeping violence at bay in the workplace

Reporter Janaya Fuller-Evans caught up with Kevin Calder of K. Calder & Associates, a licensed security consultant specializing in workplace violence intervention since 2006. He works out of his home office in Burnaby.

Reporter Janaya Fuller-Evans caught up with Kevin Calder of K. Calder & Associates, a licensed security consultant specializing in workplace violence intervention since 2006. He works out of his home office in Burnaby.

Burnaby NOW: How long have you been a Burnaby resident?

Kevin Calder: I have lived in Burnaby for the past five years.

BN: What do you do?

KC: I am a licensed security consultant specializing in workplace violence assessments and management.

I am formally trained in investigating, assessing and managing threats of workplace, school and domestic violence, stalking and threats from gangs and organized crime.

I develop plans to minimize violence risk and liaise with my clients and other professionals to manage individual cases.

I also provide training, and program development support in compliance with WorkSafe B.C.'s violence in the workplace regulations.

BN: How and when did you get into workplace violence management?

KC: As a B.C. sheriff, I was a founding member of the B.C. Sheriff's integrated threat assessment unit and the Justice Institute's Threat Management Centre of Excellence in the Sheriff's Academy in 2002.

BN: Who uses your services?

KC: I have worked with every level of government (municipal, provincial and federal) in the development and delivery of training, consulting and assessments.

I have also worked with the various health authorities and public transportation sectors in minimizing the risk of workplace violence.

I also work with private sector companies and with individuals who have identified individuals who may pose a threat of violence in the workplace and in the campus environment.

BN: What experience do you have that led you to this particular career?

KC: I had an opportunity to receive training from various organizations, including the RCMP, FBI, U.S. Secret Service and the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

This training prioritizes the need to proactively assess individuals and situations where a risk of targeted or predatory violence may be present.

With the B.C. Sheriff's integrated threat assessment unit, I was responsible for conducting assessments and operational plans for high-security and highprofile court cases, such as the Robert Pickton trial and various gang trials, and threats directed at the judiciary, court participants and family and civil court cases.

The threats posed in highly emotional family cases were often greater than high-security criminal cases.

I have participated in the completion of hundreds of assessments since leaving Sheriff Services in 2006.

BN: Describe your hardest day on the job.

KC: Working with clients who do not recognize the seriousness of the situation they may be currently facing.

The frustration of attempting to implement preventative measures to reduce risk and provide a safe work environment in this tough economic environment.

Knowing that an individual may pose a threat of hurting themselves or others, and recognizing that at the end of the day, the individual is ultimately responsible for their decisions and actions.

BN: What makes the job worthwhile?

KC: The focus on prevention and support.

The ability to assist both potential victims and perpetrators through the implementation of various strategies to reduce the intent, capability or vulnerability related to violence risk.

BN: What are some of the drawbacks?

KC: There is a lack of recognition on the part of some clients for the potential of significant violence.

Although statistically the chance of a workplace homicide is very low, each case must be assessed on its specific circumstances and context.

An individual case and associated individuals involved may present as high risk, even though historically the risk is minimal.

Knowing that some of those who pose a threat are in need of significant support and are not getting assistance.

There is an over-reliance on the individual who poses a threat and may be in crisis to make good decisions.

BN: Based on your experience, what's essential to managing volatile situations in the workplace?

KC: The early identification of behaviours, individuals and situations of concern is critical. There is a range of behaviours including inappropriate, bullying, harassing, threatening and actual violence that can cause significant fear, anxiety and disruption in the workplace.

BN: What should employees do if they feel they're in a dangerous situation?

KC: They should consider developing a greater internal capacity to investigate, assess and manage the full range of disruptive workplace behaviour.

In most cases, internal strategies will manage the majority of potential risk.

In serious cases, companies should have a comfort level to reach out to external professionals who can provide additional support and strategies.

External support could include police, mental health, counselling and security and threat management professionals, amongst others.

In serious cases, all of these professionals can draw on expertise and resources to minimize the risk of an actual act of serious violence.

For more information on Calder's services, go to his website at www.