Let’s begin with some statistics on workplace violence.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two million American workers are victims of workplace violence every year.
- According to the Office for Victims of Crime, there were a total of 4,679 workplace deaths in 2014. Of those deaths, 468 were related to workplace violence. 2% of the 468 deaths, were victims of intentional shooting, followed by stabbing and other forms of violent acts.
- According to Injury Facts 2016®, workplace violence is the third leading cause of deaths for employees working in Healthcare and Business environments. However, this is a problem across various occupational sectors including: Government; Education and Health Services, Professional and Business Services, Retail, Leisure and Hospitality, Financial, Transportation and Warehousing, Construction, and Manufacturing
The bottom line is that workplace violence can happen anywhere. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the signs, establish a response plan, and conduct drills to make sure you and your staff are ready when something goes wrong.
It’s quite alarming that 76% of the workplace deaths in 2014 involved an active shooter. By definition, an active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people at the company’s premises. In most cases, active shooters use a firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. An active shooter in a workplace environment is an individual that is angry about something and commits violent acts towards his or her co-workers because of revenge and even ideology, with or without a component of mental illness. While we can’t predict if the person who sits next to us will commit a violent act, we can learn to identify the warning signs and take action. According to the National Safety Society, common traits of a violent individual may include:
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Unexplained absenteeism
- Change in behavior or decline in job performance
- Depression, withdrawal or suicidal comments
- Resistance to changes at work or persistent complaining about unfair treatment
- Violation of company policies
- Emotional responses to criticism, mood swings
We cannot stress enough how important it is to have a reporting system where employees can feel comfortable to report violent acts and suspicious behavior. However, it is just as important to establish a proper follow up process when these reports are received.
Plan and Prepare
Currently, BRAVO! is dedicating its training efforts on this topic to ensure our staff can identify the warning signs and report it. Also, we are distributing information on what to do in case an active shooter is on the premises and the importance of keeping your facility safeguarded at all times. We are committed to partnering with you on these efforts for the safety of all employees.
Below is a quick checklist to assess if your facility is prepared to prevent and react during an emergency event.
Review your current policies.
- Your policy must state management commitment to protect employees against the hazards of workplace violence, including both physical acts and verbal threats.
- Include a “zero tolerance” policy toward violent acts and disciplinary measures against employees who engaged in such conduct.
Review your reporting procedure:
- Include a non-retaliation policy for employees who report acts of violence.
- Identify means and methods for employees to report violent acts in a confidential manner.
- Investigate reports of workplace violence or suspicious behavior promptly.
- Identify who will investigate and follow up on workplace violence or suspicious behavior reports.
Review your training initiatives:
- Train employees on how to identify the traits of violent individuals and how to report them.
- Train employees on how to respond in the event of an emergency evacuation or active shooter event such as Run, Hide, or Fight procedures.
- Have employees participate in regular drills so they can learn the facility routes of escape and assembly points. Include your contractors as well.
- Train employees on keeping their facility safe by following site-specific security protocols.
Review your emergency response plan:
- Conduct a risk assessment of your facility and develop an action plan to correct any deficiencies found in the process.
- Ensure escape routes such as stairs and exits are in good condition and adequately lighted.
- Ensure at least two exit routes are available to permit prompt evacuation of employees. More than two exit routes must be available if the number of employees and size of building is large. A single exit route is acceptable only when the number of employees and size of building is considerably small.
- Establish and test modes of communication/ alert system.
- Update emergency contact lists.
Below, are some resources available for more information on how to implement an emergency response plan and train employees to Run, Hide, or Fight in the event of an active shooter on your premises. Let’s be safe and protect one another.