ADT Exclusive Tips: Workplace Violence Prevention

From 1997 to 2007, there were more than 7,000 workplace homicides nationwide, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of these homicides involved robberies by strangers, but 1,000 involved work colleagues.

Traditional robbery -- which usually targets convenience stores and banks -- have caused an increase in security and the recession has driven potential thieves to even more desperate measures -- targeting business offices for robbery and theft. Offices can often provide easy access for thieves looking for expensive items like laptops, cell phones and even unattended cash.

Workplace violence perpetrated by thieves, disgruntled former employees, angry customers and even bitter spouses can destroy a company’s reputation along with its employee’s sense of safety and security.

Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT Security Services, recommends that employers and employees work together to create an action plan to help make their places of business safer.

“Planning can be the number one deterrent to workplace violence. Having policies and procedures in place can make the difference in preventing workplace violence,” he said.

To help employers and employees mitigate workplace violence, Fiel and ADT recommend these important safety tips.

Safety tips for employers:

  • Take a physical security survey of your workplace and review current policies and procedures. Enlist the aid of security professionals to help identify possible security vulnerabilities in landscaping, lighting, employee and visitor access and signage.
  • Conduct full national background checks on all employees and contractors annually and provide yearly training on workplace violence prevention.
  • Install video surveillance cameras to monitor both inside and outside your business. Video surveillance can be a deterrent to potential thieves. It can also be a valuable tool to help identify perpetrators and aid law enforcement before, during and after a robbery, theft or other crime.
  • Implement access control systems and visitor management systems to handle visitor and employee access. All employees and visitors should display proper Identification badges at all times. Make sure to immediately update access control systems, I.D. cards and readers when an employee leaves the company.

Safety tips for employees:

  1. Be aware at your workplace. If you notice someone unfamiliar to your office, someone without an I.D. card or behaving suspiciously, report it to your company’s security team or your supervisor. Never approach anyone you think may pose a threat.
  2. Use the buddy system. If you ever feel unsafe walking to or from your car after work, walk with a trusted coworker or ask for a security escort.
  3. Keep personal items such as purses and wallets in a secure place out of sight. About 75 percent of workplace violence incidents are robbery-related, so consider the use of a locked cabinet or desk drawer to secure your valuables at all times.
  4. Knowledge is power, so take time to review and learn about your company’s policy on evacuations and lockdowns. Knowing what to do and where to go in an emergency can save lives.

In addition to installing security cameras, Fiel recommends updating access control and creating emergency plans. Employers can also utilize effective preventative solutions such as anonymous tip lines for employees to report suspicious behavior or activity.

“Preventative measures like these are key to helping to enhance workplace safety and can provide peace-of-mind for employers, employees and customers,” Fiel said.

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