Ten years ago today, I wrote about the then-Tenth Anniversary of one of the horrible events that made a lasting impact on Connecticut employers.

I recounted the Connecticut Lottery shootings that happened a decade earlier.

Today, marks 20 years. (The CT Mirror has another perspective here.)

The New York Times report of that event is still chilling in its matter of factness:

Angered about a salary dispute and his failure to win a promotion, a Connecticut Lottery accountant reported promptly to his job this morning, hung up his coat and then methodically stabbed and gunned down four of his bosses, one of whom he chased through a parking lot, before turning the gun on himself.

Since that time, we’ve had other workplace shootings in Connecticut including one even deadlier (Hartford Distributors) and, of course, the massacre in Sandy Hook.

I’m reminded of a post I did early on that was titled: Are there really any lessons to be learned from evil? In it, I suggested the answer was “perhaps” — if only because employers need to keep reviewing their workplace violence policies and keep figuring out ways to spot trouble before it arises.

Just in 2014 alone, there were over 400 workplace homicides nationwide reported to OSHA.

Indeed, it seems the rare case where workplace violence just pops up out of nowhere.

OSHA does have some resources on the subject — but many of them are starting to be dated. 

One of the more useful items was a set of guidelines issued in 2015 targeting healthcare and social service workers.

It calls on employers to develop workplace violence prevention programs from five building blocks:

  1. Management commitment and employee participation;
  2. Worksite analysis;
  3. Hazard prevention and control;
  4. Safety and health training, and
  5. Recordkeeping and program evaluation.

There are far more details in the report than a blog post could recap but for employers looking to reduce the risk of a workplace shooting at their facility, getting started on your own program is as good a place to start as any.

As we remember the victims of the Connecticut Lottery shooting, may we honor their memories to keep bringing change and safety to our workplaces.

For those living in Connecticut, the Connecticut Lottery shootings of over a decade ago are still a vivid reminder of how quickly a tragedy can visit a workplace. 

On the 10th anniversary of that horrible day, I wrote a piece about how that incident really awakened Connecticut employers to the need to think about workplace violence issues.

Over the last several years, I’ve discussed steps that an employer can consider to reduce the threat of workplace violence in the wake of other workplace incidents

But I noted then that any suggestion that these types of incidents could be avoided is really Monday-morning quarterbacking.

This morning brought word of another random workplace shooting visited on yet another Connecticut employer.

Nine dead. Others injured.

Families shattered. Dreams destroyed.

An unspeakable tragedy and one for which I feel sick for the families affected.  

There may be some employers that  want use this incident to revisit their own policies or ask what they could do to reduce the risk of workplace violence.  Metal detectors at the doors? Armed guards? Allowing employees to bring guns into work? More training? "Zero-tolerance" on workplace violence policies? Reviewing social media websites?

OSHA has a whole section of their website devoted to workplace violence issues.

Yet ultimately, all I keep asking is whether there really anything to "learn" from this incident other than being reminded of the fact that bad things happen to good people.

Despite all the guidance and advice that can be given, the awful truth is that there really is no way to prevent tragedies like this from ever occurring.  An employer can do everything "right" and yet still a rampage ensues by someone committed to carrying out a terrible crime.

That’s not to say that employers should ignore the issue; they shouldn’t. But we also should be careful not to draw conclusions from an incident like this too.

Indeed, as we look for answers from this tragedy, perhaps its best to acknowledge that we can never truly understand what brings people to commit evil and that despite whatever efforts we might make, something like this will sadly happen again.