The Idaho Transportation Department, like many other government
agencies, implemented new procedures for guarding against
external threats after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
With creation of a Critical Incident Management Team in 2003,
ITD now has formalized a plan to guard against internal
threats as well.
A three-person team began working last summer to develop
a plan that will guide all ITD workplaces when threats or
potential threats arise. The team included Karen Sparkman,
manager of the Equal Employment Opportunity office; Mary Harker,
manager of Human Resources; and Cheryl Rost, manager of Employee
Other ITD employees, including Public Information Officer
Jeff Stratten and Facilities Manager (Headquarters) Mike Morehead
and ITD's deputy attorney general Steve Bywater also contributed
to the collaborative project.
Their efforts resulted in the November 2003 publication of
a 15-page Critical Incident Management Plan for the department.
An expert in critical incident management from Utah provided
a four-hour training session for members of executive management,
district engineers and division administrators. Topics included
how to recognize potential threats, how to respond in the
event of an incident and procedures to use following an incident.
The plan defines a critical incident as any incident
that overwhelms the individuals involved and surpasses their
abilities to cope. These are usually unexpected, frightening
and unsettling events that occur at the worksite and cause
strong reactions, anxiety and questions or concerns in the
employees who witness or hear about an event.
Generally, the incident involves a serious or potential
threat to ones own safety, the safety of others, the
occurrence of a workplace death, serious injury or altercation."
Threat is defined as any word or actions involving intent
to harm individuals or property; violence is any act of physical,
verbal or psychological threat or abuse, assault or trauma
on an individual that results in physical and/or psychological
Events could range from a member of the public or a fellow
ITD worker who threatens physical harm or damage to property,
to workplace violence, accidents or calamities such as a fire,
hazardous material leaks, acts of sabotage
It is the intent of ITD, according to the plan,
through its established policies and department training,
to minimize the impact of any critical incident in the workplace.
In the event of a critical incident at the workplace, managers
will make every attempt to provide for the security, safety
and psychological well-being of the victim(s), their families
and co-workers by following the procedures outlined in the
The plan provides managers and supervisors guidance in handling
communication about the critical incident to family members,
other employees and the news media. It also makes available
intervention services to all individuals impacted by a critical
incident, including the victims family members.
The critical incident management team will help provide resources,
expertise and crisis response assessment and manage the critical
incident once it is reported to them.
Each of ITDs six districts will use the plan as a foundation
and modify it to ensure that it meets the specific requirements
of their operation. Human Resources Development also will
provide training for all employees and supervisors. Attendance
will be required.