Did you know that most active shooter cases take place at businesses? While school shootings deservedly draw the biggest headlines, commerce locations such as malls and other companies accounted for 43 percent of active shooter incidents in the United States from 2000 to 2016, according to the FBI. That’s double the number that occurred at schools.
This raises two important questions: Are your employees aware of the threat of workplace violence? What have you done to address it?
Raising awareness may combat this growing problem. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, almost 2 million U.S. workers each year report experiencing workplace violence, including physical violence, intimidation, threats and harassment. Such violence can impact employee safety as well as productivity.
Health care facilities see a larger share of active shooter cases than all other industries combined, though no workplace is immune from threats of violence.
Active shooter situations have risen sharply in recent years. From 2000 to 2007, FBI data shows, the U.S. averaged 6.4 per year. From 2008 to 2013, that spiked to 16.4 a year, then to 20 per year from 2014 to 2016.
The consequences can be dire. In 40 active shooter occurrences in 2014 and ’15 alone, 92 people were killed and 139 wounded, the FBI reports.
What can I do?
Being proactive in assessing workplace violence risk may prevent a greater catastrophe. Long-term threat management measures provide your employees with the tools they need to navigate dangerous circumstances.
Many factors play into workplace violence. It’s impossible to address them all, but you can put policies in place aimed at stopping aggression before it begins. Pinnacol has embraced many measures in our workplace, including adding an employee assistance program and engaging in discussions about conflicts rather than ignoring them.
Your business can start by following these tips:
1. Have employees sign a workplace violence prevention policy that encourages them to report concerns or problems. Be sure to investigate each report thoroughly.
2. Screen job applicants for warning signs of workplace violence, such as a history of domestic violence complaints.
3. Institute termination policies that decrease the risk of violence, like retrieving key cards immediately upon termination of employment.
4. Know your environment inside and outside, and aid employees in developing this situational awareness.
5. Upgrade physical infrastructure to protect employees, like adding surveillance cameras and restricting outside access to nonpublic areas.
6. Practice the tactics recommended by the Department of Homeland Security to survive an attack: run, hide or fight.
7. Follow threat management procedures that make follow-ups easier:
- Archive information.
- Stick to a reporting system.
- Follow policies and procedures.
- Consult experts and resources.
- Undergo training.
You can also refer to Pinnacol’s workplace violence resources for more information.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.