Does your company have protocols for dealing with workplace violence? Do you know what the plan is for handling disgruntled customers or coworkers? Are you empowered to make your own life-saving decisions during a terrible tragedy like an attack at work? Are you prepared?
The realities of workplace violence are sobering. Despite the prevalence of an “It can’t happen to me,” or “That can’t happen here,” attitude, the truth is that workplace violence can happen anywhere and can be devastating for the employees and staff.
Why Should Companies Prepare?
Statistics on workplace violence in the US:
- 2nd leading cause of on-the-job fatalities, behind automobile accidents.
- Leading cause of death in the workplace for women.
- 2 million American workers report being a victim of workplace violence every year.
- Businesses are the most common location of active shooter attacks.
- The FBI reports that 45.6% of active shooter incidents occur at a commercial areas with and without pedestrian traffic.
- Costs the American workforce $36 Billion annually.
Examples of workplace violence in 2014:
- September 26, 2014: Stabbing and Beheading at Vaughan’s Food
- September 23, 2014: Murder-suicide at Birmingham UPS facility
- September 9, 2014: Jackson County Courthouse Shooting
- July 24, 2014: Shooting at Pennsylvania Hospital
- January 25, 2014: Shooting at Columbia Mall
What are the Requirements?
OSHA Requirements for Business: A duty to protect
The failure of an employer to address the threat of an active shooter in the workplace can be an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) violation under the General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)1). It requires employers to provide their employees a place of employment that is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm. OSHA violations can lead to citations, fines, lawsuits and damage to institutional reputation.
Recent court rulings throughout the country have allowed negligence suits filed by victims of Active Shooters to proceed against employers for failing to provide defensive training to their employees. In other words, companies can no longer avoid their corporate responsibility to provide training on both how to spot potential active shooters and on how react if so confronted.
What can Companies do?
Assess, prepare, practice, act
There are steps that can be taken to decrease the chances of workplace violence and increase overall preparedness. Businesses need threat assessments; researching and assessing vulnerabilities to different types of disasters. They also need to have emergency plans and protocols in place in case of any such emergency situation. Most significantly, these plans must be taught and implemented. All employees should be trained and must be aware of the emergency plans. Drills should be run regularly to practice for emergency situations. Finally, crisis communication planning is key to making sure the emergency is navigated successfully.
ALICE Training prepares individuals by empowering them with response options so that they can make their own survival decisions during emergency situations. Contact us at the ALICE Training today for more information about bringing ALICE to your organization.