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Last updated on Friday, March 14, 2014
(UNDATED) - Every year, 2 million Americans find themselves a victim of workplace violence, according to statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
From bullying and threats to assaults and even homicide, OSHA points to workplace violence as a growing concern for companies and employees across the United States, listing homicide as the fourth leading cause of deadly occupational injury for workers.
However, with proper focus on identifying possible threats, securing the workplace and planning a response to violence, Indianapolis businesses can reduce the likelihood of their employees becoming victims. For this reason, Signal 88 Security, a private security company with more than 100 franchise locations across the U.S. and Canada is offering free resources to address this rising issue.
"Training is key, both for our officers and the public, and is why we put these resources together," says Travis Alsup, owner of Signal 88 Security of Indianapolis. "Statistics from the FBI show that in more than half of active shooter situations, the shooter had a connection to the attack location, so being aware of possible warning signs is necessary to prevention."
Violence prevention is the core of Signal 88 Security's Three Steps to a Safer Workplace program designed for businesses of all sizes.
Step 1: Identify Possible Threats
While there may not be a stereotypical attacker profile, warning signs are often present leading up to a violent incident. Employees should be trained to watch for symptoms in their co-workers including outbursts of anger, notable changes in behavior or homicidal/suicidal comments or threats.
Alsup points to the most common motive as revenge, noting that a personal or professional trigger such as divorce, death or work-related setback can lead to violence. Drug and alcohol use can also be a warning sign.
Step 2: Secure the Workplace
Employees are the first line of defense for a company's security. Aside from being trained to recognize possible threats, workers need to be familiar with their employer's anti-violence policy, which should address harassment and drug and alcohol use, and is consistently enforced.
For physical workplace security, businesses should control access for employees and visitors. Depending on the size of the company, photo ID badges are an important security tool. In many cases, these ID badges can also serve as a pass key to otherwise restricted areas. Visitors should check in with an employee immediately upon entering the facility and should be escorted at all times.
Step 3: Plan a Response
Should an incident of violence occur at the workplace, it's important all employees know how to react. Particularly in the event of an active shooter, an incident can escalate in the matter of minutes. Each person must determine if their best course of action is to run, hide or fight. The first option should be to run; look for an escape plan and get yourself and others out of danger. If this is not possible, barricade yourself in a locked room or behind a sturdy object and call 911. Finally, if running or hiding is not an option, attempt to disrupt the attacker by physical attack or by throwing objects. When law enforcement arrives, attempt to stay calm and follow officers' instructions.
Additional program resources include an informational video and a downloadable executive information form that is designed to keep employees' personal information in a secure, centralized location. For more information about preventing workplace violence, or to utilize these resources, visit www.signal88.com/saferworkplaces.
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