Workplace Violence Mitigation

 

Workplace Violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers from within the same workforce or from outside the workforce and come in many forms. One example of outside work force violence comes from Domestic Violence spillover.  Violence can occur at or outside the workplace and can range from threats, harassment, and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide.  However workplace violence manifests itself, workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide.  Some 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year.  Workplace violence can strike anywhere, anytime, and everyone is at risk.  There are currently no specific standards for workplace violence.  Workplace violence can even occur months or years later after a perceived incident of “wrongdoing.”  Workplace violence can also happen during layoffs or firing of personnel.

Among the workers most at risk from inside your workforce are those who have recent and sudden aggressive behavior changes (drugs or alcohol abuse), unstable emotional relationships/ divorce, non-promoted or demoted employees, termination, or visible animosity toward other workers.  Risks from outside the workforce deal with exchanges of money with the public; deliver passengers, goods, or services; or work alone or in small groups, during late night or early morning hours, in high-crime areas, or in community settings and homes where they have extensive contact with the public. This group includes -care and social service workers such as visiting nurses, psychiatric evaluators, and probation officers; community workers such as gas and water utility employees, phone and cable TV installers, and letter carriers; retail workers; and taxi drivers.

The best protection employers can offer is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence against or by their own employees.  The employer should establish a workplace violence prevention program or incorporate the information into an existing accident prevention program, employee handbook, or manual of standard operating procedures.

It is critical to ensure that all employees know the policy and understand that all claims of workplace violence will be investigated and remedied promptly.

  1. In addition, employers can offer additional protections such as the following:
    Provide safety education for employees so they know what conduct
    is not acceptable, what to do if they witness or are subjected to workplace
    violence, and how to protect themselves.
  2. Secure the workplace. Where appropriate to the business, install
    video surveillance, extra lighting, and alarm systems and minimize access by
    outsiders through identification badges, electronic keys, security guards, and
    seek advice from a professional Security Consultant.
  3. Provide drop safes to limit the amount of cash on hand. Keep a
    minimal amount of cash in registers during evenings and late night hours.
  4. Equip field staff with cellular phones and hand-held alarms or
    noise devices, and require them to prepare a daily work plan and keep a contact
    person informed of their location throughout the day. Keep employer provided vehicles
    properly maintained. Instruct employees not to enter any location where they
    feel unsafe. Introduce a “buddy system” or provide an escort service or police
    assistance in potentially dangerous situations or at night.
  5. Develop policies and procedures covering visits by home
    health-care providers. Address the conduct of home visits, the presence of others
    in the home during visits, and the worker’s right to refuse to provide services
    in a clearly hazardous situation. Nothing can guarantee that an employee will not
    become a victim of workplace violence.

These steps, however, can help reduce the odds:

  1. Learn how to recognize, avoid, or diffuse potentially violent
    situations by attending personal safety training programs.
  2. Alert supervisors to any concerns about safety or security and
    report all incidents immediately in writing. Avoid traveling alone into
    unfamiliar locations or situations whenever possible.
  3. Carry only minimal money and required identification into
    community settings.

The most catastrophic workplace violence incident that can occur inside or outside the workplace is a shooting, commonly referred to as “Active Shooter”.  Workplace Violence shooting incidents in the past suggests that active shooter incidents may involve individuals who do not exhibit traits that can signal a potential threat; such as aggressive behavior, threats, recent behavior changes, divorce and relationship problems, or visible animosity towards coworkers.  Workers should file a complaint with the proper authorities and the entire matter looked into and dealt with as quickly as possible.  All businesses should have some sort of internal security presence or on-site private security in place to expectantly deter and prevent violent acts from occurring.  Given the state of our economy and the slow gradual moral decline of our nation, people are “snapping” and resorting to violence like never before.  We are constantly seeing an increase in violence on all levels of society (workplace, schools, churches, shopping centers, etc).

If there are (trained) armed private security guards in place at your place of business, they can assist in the termination of employees and the protection of employees just like standard practices at other corporate offices.  The terminated employee is generally escorted off the premises by security in an attempt to ensure that arguing or violence of any kind doesn’t take place.  The terminated employee is also told not to return.  If that employee returns at any time, they are generally confronted outside of the workplace or at the entrance to ensure the safety of the other employees, and to contact local law enforcement.

Implementing private security at your place of employment, enhancing your existing private security team with current tactics and best practices could keep tragic shootings and violence from happening.  Should a shooting take place, having armed security on-site could protect more lives than not and possibly stop the shooter.  History and facts have shown that active shooter incidents start and end before law enforcement arrives on scene.

Implications of an Active Shooter-

  • Active shooter attacks continue to occur in schools, workplaces, and public venues.
  • Disgruntled attackers may not signal their intent by openly revealing their hostility.
  • In the first few minutes, the initial response will involve facility security personnel (if applicable) and employees. Response procedures should include:
  1. Evacuate the building if it can be done in a safe manner.
  2. Relocate to a safe area and secure the area to the degree possible Call 911 and relay information as calmly as possible.
  3. Call 911 and relay information as calmly as possible.

In order to aid responding law enforcement, do not lock exit doors. When approached by a responding officer, stop moving and raise your hands so as to not appear as a threat.

If you want to learn more about our Workplace Violence Mitigation and Safety programs, whether there is violence from the inside or outside of your workplace, feel free to contact us by phone, email, or the web for a free confidential consultation. Learn the various security solutions that ICS of Colorado can customize for you to enhance your current situation or crisis that may be on the horizon or currently developing. Check us out at http://www.executive-protection-services.com or http://www.churchsecurity-training.com.