In 2019, workplace violence—particularly violence involving a firearm—is on the rise. A recent workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois by an employee who opened fire during his termination meeting is just the latest disturbing example. That middle-aged man with a history of domestic violence, killed five of his co-workers, wounded five police officers, and then turned the gun on himself.
No employer can guarantee a violence-free workplace. Given the dangers presented, however, it’s critical that all employers take steps to reduce its likelihood as much as possible. With a smart plan in place, we can drastically reduce the potential for onsite violence, or at least mitigate its impact.
At a minimum, employers should create and enforce a written zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence and develop a written prevention program. The program can include information about employee assistance programs. Refresher training can occur periodically. It’s also important to have a sound pre-employment screening and rolling background check policy in place to identify potential threats in your workforce.
Employers can also:
• Encourage employees to report incidents.
• Offer an effective, comfortable, and confidential reporting procedure.
• Provide important telephone numbers for quick reference during a crisis.
• Ensure that employees receive training on emergency exits, alarm systems, and personal security measures.
• Maintain “open door” policies to address simple miscommunications and allow for “venting,” and to resolve more serious conflicts.
• Consider bringing in an outside security consultant who can conduct a professional threat assessment and may recommend adding video surveillance, extra lighting, electronic keys, or extra security guards.
If you’re serious about reducing the potential for violence at your workplace, KRESS can help. Contact us today for a consultation on how we can make your business a safer, more peaceful place to work.