The University Record, September 6, 1994

Business, finance units form task force on workplace violence

The Business and Finance Division is forming a Workplace Violence Task Force to develop a comprehensive response to workplace violence.

Representatives from several Central Campus offices have been asked to form a lead team to begin the process. They include Keith Bruhnsen, manager of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program; Leo J. Heatley, director of the Department of Public Safety; and Wendy N. Powell, personnel representative; and Bruce B. Pringle, assistant personnel administrator, Office of Employee Relations. The Medical Center has its own workplace violence task force.

“Threats and acts of violence are occurring today in most workplace settings and put at risk the safety, productivity and health of American workers,” Bruhnsen says.

“Workplace violence is a national issue and, due to its size and complexity, an issue for the University of Michigan.”

He notes that numerous incidents occur throughout the University annually. They are reported to various officials and offices and require a timely and appropriate response. However, not every situation is reported nor is every situation managed to the best possible solution, Bruhnsen adds.

Members of the Workplace Violence Task Force, yet to be selected, will begin work this fall.

As a starting point, three public meetings will be held this month to gain a greater understanding and awareness of the concerns University workers have regarding threats or acts of violence.

Faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend one of the informal meetings to share their perceptions and knowledge of workplace threats, acts of violence and suggestions for improvement, Bruhnsen says.

“By gathering this information beforehand, the Workplace Violence Task Force will be able to develop comprehensive methods to respond to threats and acts of violence. These may include establishing comprehensive policies and programs that help predict, reduce, and address threats and acts of violence in our workplace,” Bruhnsen says. “In turn, we will all feel safer, enjoy our work setting and contribute to the success of the institution.”

Faculty and staff are asked to send comments in writing to the lead team through Bruhnsen, 715 N. University, #7 1611, or by electronic mail to Keith_Bruhnsen@cc.umich.edu.