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Business Turns to Chaplains to Prevent Workplace Violence

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RALEIGH — Murder is the number two cause of death on the job. Personal problems can spill over into the workplace, and they can sometimes have deadly consequences.

The shootings in Atlanta and Alabama forced everyone to think about how safe they are at work.

Some local companies are trying to prevent violence on the job, but they are not using guards or guns. They are turning to corporate chaplains.

Friday, Mark Cress checked in on employees atStorr Office Environments, one of the companies where he works as a corporate chaplain.

Many people might think the office is the last place anyone would want to talk about personal problems, but Cress greets each employee by name, and many feel comfortable opening up to him.

"Domestic issues, aging parents is a really big topic right now. Problems with children at home, or maybe a death in the family," said Cress.

Cress' goal is to prevent problems like workplace violence, but sometimes he is called to deal with the aftermath.

His company sent a counselor to Littleton, Col. to talk to factory workers about theschool shootingsthere.

"Some workers in the factory had children who were in the school that day. One was shot in the hand, and the counselor was there for a week to work with that family," said Cress.

Two hundred people work for the company Cress visited Friday.

No office can ever be completely safe from workplace violence, but the president of this company believes Cress can help by diffusing the tension that can lead to serious problems.

"We see Mark as a way for an employee to deal with their anger and their frustration, as opposed to venting it in a negative way. They can vent in a positive way, and Mark can help them work through it," said Tom Vande Guchte of Storr Office Environments.

Inner Active Ministriesworks with 35 companies and counsels about 8,000 employees. All of their conversations with employees are kept confidential.