In many industries it is common for employees to carry weapons in violation of their company policy. For example, field insurance investigators and truck drivers are two groups of employees who commonly feel better protected with firearms in remote, unfamiliar and potentially dangerous working environments. Debates about gun control rage on as the media publicized that there have been, on average, about one mass shooting for each day in 2015. We often write about the value of electronic policy, forms and training distribution for regulatory compliance, but I want to share tips on how these compliance systems are used to prepare for Emergency Response, Workplace Violence and Active Shooter scenarios.
4 Steps We Are Seeing From The Best Companies:
1 – Clear Policies, Guidelines and Training
Communicate clear policies to employees, clients, vendors and visitors outlining your expectations for a violence free workplace. Provide updated training and guidelines to all employees to boost awareness of the dangerous warning signs to prevent an incident, as well as know the emergency action plan if something happens. Re–issue the policies and training periodically so the information is fresh. Practice your escape plan that includes how to block the door, where and when to run for shelter, and how to act like you were already shot. It is critical to have an efficient and agile framework that communicates content to all employees, documents and tracks their training, and remains updated with current content.
There are many expert sources of content from attorneys to consultants. A host of free material specific to workplace violence is also available from OSHA https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/. The city of Houston recently released a You Tube video to help employees survive an active shooter incident: https://youtu.be/5Vchttps://youtu.be/5VcSwejU2D0SwejU2
2 – Physical Design
I am sure this is an area that will be researched better as architects design workplaces and furniture to minimize the impact of an active shooter. Light your dark, isolated parking lots and outside areas. Consider installing cameras and alarm systems throughout the premise. Communicate escape routes and emergency action plans from every angle.
3 – Enforcement
According to OSHA, almost 2 million American workers report being victims of workplace violence each year. Have a clear and easy mechanism for reporting violations of policies. Your handbooks are brought to life when the words turn into actions. Investigate every violation and complaint, confidentially. Follow through with discipline, even if it means firing your best salesperson. Make employees accountable for their actions and let them know your company has a zero tolerance policy for harassment, intimidation and workplace violence. Document every action taken in efficient and agile framework.
4 – Strong HR
Strengthen your stable of employees when they are still in the pre-hire process by performing thorough pre-employment screening. Onboard employees into a culture of compliance, transparency, respect and accountability by communicating expectations, policies, guidelines and training. Give employees the tools they need to recognize danger at home and at work. Strengthen your connection with your workforce.
Founder of HR Resource Force, a family-owned technology solutions business partnered with powerful partners. Nick’s career spans business development, risk management, operations, and executive management, giving him the in-depth knowledge to help businesses identify and overcome their challenges.