Prevent Violence and Threats in the Workplace
OSHA recommended elements of an effective violence prevention program:
American National Standard Institutes Elements of a Workplace Violence Prevention Program:
So what do you need to look for?
Types of Serious Injuries and Deaths from Workplace Violence – so you must do something immediately
Attempts to cause physical harm, i.e.., striking, pushing, or other aggressive acts against another person
Other Aggressive Acts To Consider… here you must do something soon
When dealing with disgruntled employees it is recommended that you follow these communication tips to reduce the chance of a violent incident.
In a study done by the FBI of a 160 active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 – 2013
There is case law that specifically suggests employers are responsible for not responding to probable threat patterns, even if committed by an outside 3rd party. (OSHA ruling of shooting at Univ. of Pitt. Psych Clinic in March of 2012)
The 2013 report commissioned by OSHA says that Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center didn’t put enough emphasis on protecting its employees from attacks. It went on to say that workplace violence prevention efforts are completely overshadowed by patient safety at the hospital. The clinic has subsequently spent about $10 million to upgrade security and workplace safety.
So what do we know about an active shooter?
Triggering events that could lead to violent acts of aggression.
Other things to now about an active shooter
Research has shown that criminals seek out locations that provide opportunities and less risk of being caught. Honest citizens prefer the opposite. Those whose emotions are running high can either feel a calming effect or more frustration simply by the surroundings. This has produced a whole new “science” for added management of locations. Law enforcement has coined the term “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED).
The Workthreat Group offers an approach to EDIT (Environmental Design Influences Threats) in order to evaluate your organization’s surroundings. These methods are generally low cost and are designed to your specific needs. They are designed to constrain criminal activity, lessen the potential for threatening behavior and at the same time, encourage positive conduct on the part of the usual employee/client/customer contact. Additionally, and we think most importantly, personnel within the organization are interviewed and included in the total assessment process.
Looking at an environment from this perspective focuses on what can go right with an environment. The proper design and effective use of your environment can manipulate human behavior, particularly crime and aggressive behavior. Additionally it encourages productivity, creativity and collaborative efforts from all.
Some of the EDIT techniques include evaluating lighting, both inside and outside; assessing restrooms, hallways and empty offices for hiding places or unsafe conditions; and reviewing the access to buildings, safe rooms and other areas normally thought to be protected. The Workthreat Group may also look at how you restrict and/or direct movement of vehicles and people as well as provide natural surveillance opportunities for persons to view their surroundings. This allows for employees to become actively involved in their personal safety so they can feel in control and they can be part of the solution, not just a victim of the problem.
An EP program is designed to establish guidelines for minimizing the risk of and, if necessary, reaction to criminal, terrorist, and those wishing to smear the image of specific individuals and their immediate families; in their offices, residences, commuting and while traveling domestically and internationally. An EP program and risk assessment process should ensure appropriate security protection commensurate with any identified terrorist, criminal or other threat in any environment – including the internet.
Besides the obvious reasons behind wanting to make sure the EP program is appropriate, there is always a consideration of cost, as an EP program can become very costly, very quickly. Often times a Corporations Board of Directors will order such a review for similar reasons and to comply with its mandate of due diligence. And lastly, individuals feel the need for such a program and they want to ensure they are getting the most qualified personnel that can actually do the job effectively as well as efficiently.