While the requirements of certain industries present more challenges than others, employee safety and security are critical concerns for all types of organizations. But due to the ever-increasing threat of workplace violence (WPV), addressing personnel safety has taken on fresh urgency throughout the business world—and it’s become key to not only protection, but also employee happiness and retention.

The Average Workplace is Risky Enough

Providing comprehensive employee safety requires a multifaceted approach including preventive measures, training, enforcement, and robust mental health support.

In general terms, organizations must commit to standards like maintaining a clean and hazard-free workplace, providing appropriate equipment and instruction, and implementing solid emergency response plans (much of this being dictated by the OSHA General Duty Clause). And though much of this may sound commonplace, it’s all incredibly important. How important? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported roughly 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019, highlighting the seriousness of this issue even aside from the specific threat of WPV.


A New and Frightening Concern

America’s surge in workplace violence has added a new dimension. According to the National Safety Council, WPV accounted for more than 450 fatalities and approximately 16,000 injuries in the U.S. in 2019 alone. From active shooter situations to assaults, threats, or harassment, this rise in workplace violence emphasizes the need for organizations to enhance their preparedness training and response plans to properly safeguard employees.

But because of the growing reality of this threat and the alarming frequency of incidents, safety and security measures are more than an obligation – they’re an expectation. And with good reason. A recent study by AlertMedia showed that nearly half of American workers believe the world to be a more dangerous place, and more than 4 in 5 have experienced a work emergency at some point in their careers.

Safety: A Reasonable Requirement

So, what does corporate responsibility for employee safety and security look like? ,  including:

  • Training personnel to identify early warning signs of WPV;
  • Teaching situational awareness and verbal de-escalation;
  • Emphasizing efforts toward active shooter preparedness;
  • Developing detailed, concrete action plans for WPV situations;
  • Rehearsing or role playing WPV action plans; and
  • Posting best practices to remind workers of steps to take in an emergency.

Thankfully, many organizations are answering the call and increasingly investing in training programs designed to address WPV and active shooter events. The Society for Human Resource Management found that 3 in 4 organizations in the U.S. provided WPV prevention training in 2019. These training programs educate employees to recognize warning signs, implement emergency response plans, and enhance situational awareness.

Additionally, businesses are gaining an understanding of the importance of mental health support, and how the presence or lack of support can mean all the difference. In fact, implementing initiatives to promote mental health—like employee assistance programs, counseling services, or awareness campaigns—has been found to boost productivity as well as increasing employee safety.

Given today’s risk landscape, putting these protocols and more into place is not only valuable, but critical for organizations wanting to promote preparedness, mitigate liability, and create a culture of safety and security to the satisfaction of their employees.

With expertise including Run-Hide-Fight, situational awareness, active shooter training, conflict avoidance and verbal de-escalation, The Power of Preparedness provides critical guidance that can save lives. Contact us to learn more.