Preventing workplace violence: How to keep employees safe

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HOUSTON – It has now been two days since a deadly workplace shooting near Katy, in which a supervisor was gunned down by a disgruntled former employee.

Mike Dawid was the service center manager at Knight Transportation but, most importantly, he was a husband and father.

Investigators believe Dawid was the intended target. They said 65-year-old Marion Guy Williams went to the business on Wednesday and headed straight to him. Williams had been fired two weeks earlier.

The incident is one of three violent workplace shootings in our area, just in the last year. With big companies announcing mass layoffs, worker safety is more of a concern than ever.

When Williams, a disgruntled former employee, stormed into Knight Transportation, hunted down his supervisor, and shot and killed him in cold blood, an employee stated Williams first fired a warning shot in the break room. The employee heard him say, "Y'all ruined my life."

"There's not one single profile of people who do these sorts of things," Kevin Troutman, a local employment attorney, said.

Troutman said as we see more and more of these tragic incidents in the workplace, how to prevent them and how to spot the warning signs needs to become part of a company's routine in maintaining a safe workplace.

OSHA requires all employers to maintain a safe work environment. Troutman said it's more important than ever for them to include workplace violence as part of their emergency preparedness plans.

"Don't just talk about it. Train your employees at least twice a year," he said.

"We need to evacuate if we can. If we can't evacuate, we need to find a place to hide. Who is going to call 911? Where do we go? Where do we meet if a situation like this happens," Troutman said.

Troutman adds while it might sound cliched, if you see or hear something, say something. If a co-worker constantly says they feel as if they've been wronged or they continually talk as if they're a victim or verbally express animosity or anger, don't be afraid to report that behavior to a supervisor.

"I'd like to see employers help employees get the idea that it is their responsibility to help maintain a safe workplace," Troutman said.

Dawid leaves behind his wife, Ellie, and their 2-year-old son.

Friends of the Dawids set up an account to help cover expenses here.

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