According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the U.S. in 2014, 403 were workplace homicides. In addition, two million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year. Victims of workplace violence miss 1.8 million days of work every year, and the annual cost of workplace violence for employers is estimated to be nearly $121 billion, according to statistics from the Department of Justice and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Recently, a UPS employee who shot three co-workers inside a UPS office in San Francisco, made national headlines. In June, 2016, 49 people were killed and 58 others were wounded at Pulse nightclub. In June of this year, a man killed five of his co-workers at a business in northeast Orlando, and more recently, the mass shooting in Las Vegas, NV, killing 58 and injuring hundreds more before turning the gun on himself, which is now the largest killing spree in U.S. history.
That’s why we’ve created the Security and Workplace Violence Risk Assessment and Active Shooter Program, a proactive method to detect and reduce the risk of violence, based on OSHA required Standard of Care. As part of this program, we will visit your commercial, educational, government, religious, health care, open air parks and stadium facilities and create a detailed, tailored plan to ensure all employees/occupants feel safe.
In the meantime, here are a few tips that make every workplace just a little bit safer:
- Understand OSHA requirements. Under the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), employers are required to create an environment that is “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” According to the law, each employer, “shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees and occupants; shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act; and each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.” Therefore, courts interpret this to mean that an employer has a legal obligation to protect employees/occupants from harm. Now is the time to understand your potential liabilities. Failure to comply with OSHA requirements may significantly increase risk of lawsuits, fines, judgements, etc.
- Develop a plan. Every business faces different threats and vulnerabilities, and these three questions are a good place to start. Is your organization a target? What would be the impacts of an incident? What are the odds of a security incident occurrence? Talk to your legal, HR and security teams to find the answers you need.
- Security matters. There are three kinds of security elements: operations, architecture and technology. Each one plays an important role in keeping your business safe. Think like a criminal, when you’re looking closely at each element; for example, building access, alarms, CCTV, physical security and active shooter response. And finally, does your security staff have the proper procedures and guidelines to follow in case of an emergency? Do you have a plan in place?
- Know the entrances and exits of your building. Talk to your building manager and get a detailed map of the entrances and exits of your building. For example, each should have proper lighting. Sometimes, people can get into your building through latch manipulation. That’s why it’s important to invest in high-security keyways. Hedges and shrubs can provide a place for concealment.
- Get your staff involved. Employees are your best “eyes and ears” of what’s really happening inside your company. Create some kind of channel or hotline service where employees are encouraged to share safety concerns. Putting a priority on safety demonstrates to your team that you take their concerns seriously by involving them with your plan.
- Monitor IT. Approximately 700 IT security practitioners told the Ponemon Institute that more than 78 percent of negligent or malicious employees or other insiders have been responsible for at least one data breach within their organization(s) over the past two years. According to IBM’s “2017 Cost of Data Breach Study” the average total organizational cost across all segments, not just education, is $7.35 million, up almost five percent over last year’s $7 million. The average number of records exposed was 28,512. The major component of that expense–about $1.51 million–is related to the business lost because of the breach; turnover of customers or “churn” increase customer acquisition cost, “reputation losses” and “diminished goodwill.” One way to mitigate this risk is to develop a security awareness program within your organization. Update security IT policies, password protection, standards for handling sensitive information and email best practices. Employees should be instructed on how to respond to a potential security breach.
- Know who you’re hiring — and firing. Calling the applicant’s three references isn’t enough. While considering a new hire, complete a thorough and reliable pre-employment background check. Employees who have been fired abruptly and without fair warning are more likely to retaliate against the company. Don’t forget to change passwords and door codes immediately. In addition, monitor the employee on social media so that you are aware of any postings of possible violence or threats.
- Active Shooter Response Program: This program is designed to mitigate risk and reduce liability for employers, while empowering the workforce with training designed to increase safety and survivability during an act of violence in the workplace event (OSHA required Standard of Care General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970), policies, procedures and training. We educate and prepare the workforce, both mentally and physically, in order to increase their safety and survivability during a “violence in the workplace” event. *
We would welcome the opportunity to review your current plan or develop a plan specifically for your location(s). Please contact us at 877-880-5150 for more information.