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"Nobody thinks about workplace violence until there is a high profile case, and in a matter of a couple of weeks it's back to business as usual," says La Duke. "I have to admit that before writing this book I hadn't seriously examined the subject for years. I was head of training for a global manufacturing where we had two cases where we had employees die of homicides, and I was tasked with becoming expert in preventing it from happening again" explains La Duke. "Even though the homicides happened after the employees had finished work for the day and had left the premises (which would mean that technically they would not be workplace fatalities and thus not counted by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics) our executive staff took the matter very seriously."
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Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention is something of a departure from La Duke's first book. "I Know My Shoes Are Untied is a hodgepodge of blog posts, published magazine articles, and new material. People both within and outside the safety function seem to really enjoy it and it's international appeal stunned my publisher," recalls La Duke, "We had orders from the UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Kazakhstan, and more places than I can really say. I had no intention of writing a book about workplace violence—keep in mind this was well before the recent spate of workplace shootings—because I had the work for my third book well underway. But my publisher contacted me and asked me to write a book on workplace violence."
La Duke says researching the book took him to some dark places, "researching a book like this is a bit like researching a book on human trafficking; there's no way around some very ugly and shocking truths" observes La Duke, "I learned that homicide is the #1 cause of death for women in the workplace and that of the women killed, nearly half are killed by a husband or significant other while only 2% of men who are murdered at work are killed by a loved one.".
Since the book was published the National Safety Council released a study that found that in over 70% or nonfatal workplace violence incidents the victims were women and the Bureau of Labor Statistics now lists homicide as the #6 overall cause (up from #9 before the book was released.
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"As I learned more about the issue I noticed that too many alleged experts were providing bad advice relative to workplace violence. They were telling people to react to a workplace violence event in the same way they would a mass shooting. It was insane, I attended one lecture where the speaker was about 80% wrong in what he was advising. I immediately took to writing articles on the correct way to predict workplace violence, prevent it, protect workers during an event, and how to deal with the aftermath."
La Duke is first to admit that the subject is something that most people would prefer not to think or talk about. "I try to inject humor into the subject, not to diminish the importance of the subject, but to keep the book from becoming too depressing. I mostly poke fun at myself, but I do like to wedge the most important facts between bits of humor so people will remain engaged and retain the message longer. I'll do anything to keep people reading and hopefully learning. What I have found so disheartening is so few people care about this issue."
The book event is from 1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. June 29, at the Barnes and Noble Bookseller store located at 3120 Fairlane Drive, Allen Park, MI 48101 Phone: (313) 271-0688
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