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Safety Starts Here: Unlocking the Key Steps to Shield Your Workplace from Violence

Kelly Moore
June 6, 2023

With the many recent events that have occurred around the country that have involved mass killings (shootings and by other means), I felt it was important to discuss how those immediately impacted by these events should respond. While you are not likely to be directly affected by this incident, it could happen, but you are more likely to be indirectly impacted. So let’s talk about the steps you can take to protect yourself, your employees, your customers, and your business or organization. First, let’s explore why you should be concerned about these events.

While those in the education space have been working on what they should do during an active violence event, the non-K12 space has been less involved in this conversation. In this area, there are significantly fewer mandates, there is little guidance, and most of us are left to fend for ourselves when we are talking about what it takes to prepare for these catastrophic events. The safety of all those we serve is universal and many of the practices in the education space directly relate to and apply to the non-K12 environment.

Specifically, one of the only federal mandates that apply to both environments is seldom applied to either: OSHA’s General Duty Clause, which requires all employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious injuries. One could argue that with the majority of active violence incidents occurring in settings that are not educational, there is a “recognized hazard” of these events anywhere within our communities. Here are a couple of other reasons one should consider taking steps to protect your workplace:

  1. Taking the steps necessary to protect your workplace from violence can potentially save costs on insurance, workers’ compensation, and lost work time.

  2. Employees who feel safe coming to work, experience less stress and anxiety, and are generally happier.

  3. Customers are more likely to frequent your establishment or participate in your organization if they feel safe.

  4. Of course, there is a moral obligation to protect those who work and frequent our businesses.

If you are the person from your organization that is reading this, you are also likely to be the person who is responsible for the safety and security of your organization. Or maybe you are just concerned about it. Either way, you are looking for information to help you move your organization to become safer. Here are some steps you can take to put your organization on the right path to a safer workplace setting:

  1. Become a student of safety; read, ask questions from experts, do research, etc.

  2. Taking the first step is always the toughest: Start with what safety means to you and write down everything you would do to make your space safer.

  3. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, look at and determine what you currently have in place. Once you have determined what you have, compare that to what you want. Address those aspects of your safety vision that are missing, and determine what you need. This will be a living document that will change frequently.

  4. Consider this: plans, systems, and security measures seldom work as planned without people doing what they should do. Make sure your employees understand their responsibilities during an emergency, or all your efforts will be for naught.

  5. Develop a Business Continuity Plan: how are you going to mitigate the impact of the incident as much as possible and continue business as close to normal as possible?

While we begin to explore what safety means in the commercial and community sectors, we will expand our available resources to assist in your journey. In the meantime, CrisisGo has many resources for the education sector which also apply to this environment. Look at the blogs and podcasts to help you transition from an observer to an active participant in the safety of your organization.

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