Workplace violence is a concept that has been around for ages, but its meaning has changed substantially throughout the years. In the modern world, it is becoming more common for workplaces to be invaded by individuals who have intent to cause harm—and they have weapons that make it all possible. With workplace shootings on the rise, employers are looking for solutions that will keep their employees safe. Let’s explore this danger further.
To understand just how dangerous the threat of workplace violence is, we wanted to break down some facts about workplace violence in a way that paints a more realistic image. Workplace violence can happen anywhere, and it influences several people throughout the world every single day.
2 Million American Workers are Victims of Workplace Violence Every Year
Every single year, American employees are at a fairly high risk of workplace violence. In fact, upwards of 2 million workers face it every single year, and each event has its own story. Workplace violence is more common than most of us would like to admit, which is why having a plan is so important.
Some Industries Put Workers at a Higher Risk
According to OSHA, your place of work alone might be enough to put you at a higher risk of experiencing workplace violence. People who work with money, deliver items, work at night, or work by themselves are at a higher risk of experiencing violence while they work. Healthcare workers also experience a higher amount of violence in the workplace—and this isn’t just caused by employees.
20,870 Workers Experienced Trauma from Non-Fatal Workplace Violence in 2019
Even the people who are not killed or physically harmed during an act of workplace violence can still walk away with health problems of their own. The trauma associated with these events is significant, and it impacts all demographics. People who are nearby or face-to-face with these encounters can walk away with life-altering mental health concerns.
Employers Can Protect Employees, but Not Everyone Does
With workplace violence on a rise, there is a much bigger demand for employers to take active steps to protect their employees—but not every employer does. Employers can limit risk by minimizing how much money is kept on hand, providing security systems, hiring an active security team, or offering active shooter training. The need is there, and more employers are getting on board with this.
Evaluating Your Situation
Every company faces different circumstances that can influence the safety of its employees. To make an effective strategy and receive a good gauge on where your company falls, it is important to evaluate the situation and make a plan of action.
When evaluating your business for safety risks, it is necessary to take note of any potential risks. Risks can come in many forms. A risk might be the fact that your employees openly handle a lot of money—or it might be the fact that employees use a certain system to gain access to restricted areas. Being aware of entry points, theft risks, and the potential for a disgruntled employee to know and understand these systems is very important.
If you already have certain approaches that you use to evaluate risk, consider the frequency with which you evaluate them. It is possible for an entire work environment to change in a matter of months. Focusing on regular reviews can help you to make a note of any potential safety risks that might arise.
In addition to regularly reviewing risks and the processes associated with them, it is important to have a point person who is involved with company changes. Any time that your company changes how it does operations, this individual or team should be involved. This will ensure that all changes are made with security in mind. Everything from changing the kind of badges that you use to an announcement of layoffs can have a big impact on security protocols.
If you have plans or policies in place that help employees to navigate these dangerous situations, really consider how often you go over them. With employees, a lot of training can be lost very quickly—and that is why maintenance is so important. To ensure that your employees still know exactly what to do, it can be prudent to carry out training on a semi-regular basis. The timeline will be different depending on each individual business, but adding quarterly safety training alone can have a big impact on keeping your employees safe.
Bringing In a Consultant
As much as we like to believe that our workplaces are safe, the reality is that it just isn’t that simple. When it comes down to it, there are inherent risks that come with any workplace—and the list is growing. Workplace violence is not going anywhere anytime soon, which means that companies need a plan to keep their employees safe. Sometimes, the best approach is simply to bring in a consultant.
What is a Security Consultant?
A security consultant is an individual who has expertise regarding security and workplace violence. These individuals can apply their expertise to any work environment in order to determine potential risks and make a plan of action. Since they specialize in security, they will know what to look for and what factors will need to be considered.
What Does a Consultant Offer?
Bringing in consultants is becoming a more popular business practice because it allows businesses to take advantage of the knowledge and expertise that these individuals have. A consultant can come in and offer a wide variety of insights and tools. Some consultants simply help to evaluate risks, but their offerings can stretch much farther.
Consultants can offer planning and strategies to help employees stay safe during an incident—and now, they can also offer active shooter training. This specialized form of training is designed to ensure that your employees are not helpless if a shooter enters the building. The right planning and training can save lives, so it is always worth it to work with a professional. Consultant offerings can be quite advanced and specific to your industry, so there are big benefits to bringing a consultant in.