Sadly, we live in a world where businesses need to have a workplace violence response plan in place.
Experts suggest a response plan that, unlike other disasters, revolves around a thinking, moving and highly-dangerous threat. As a result, this kind of situation must be handled in a way that avoids adding to the chaos and workers being put in harm’s way.
For instance, emergency plans for fires and natural disasters typically call for the evacuation of a facility. However, an evacuation could be the worst thing to do in the case of an active shooter, as it might result in more people getting hurt or the shooter escaping and blending in with evacuating employees.
A comprehensive approach to a workplace violence response plan should include seven steps.
1. Identify situations that call for a response plan
Workplace violence can range from slamming a door to an active shooter situation, and not all of these scenarios calls for an immediate emergency response. A good plan clearly identifies every kind of incident that calls for the plan to be implemented. This part of the plan should not be left open to interpretation. If it is, the program might be needlessly triggered, tying up crucial resources and undercutting the validity of the program.
2. Reporting processes
A workplace violence response plan should clearly state the reporting requirements and processes for emergency or impending danger scenarios. Normally, policies dictate that staff members should report emergency or dangerous situations either straight to law enforcement or an internal control center.
It’s important to note: The faster a company knows about an incident, the quicker it can put a plan into action.
As part of preparations for a workplace violence incident, an organization should create a crisis communication plan that deals with communications both during and after an incident.
Preparation can also include damage mitigation, which involves not only handling a situation, but also making certain it doesn’t lead to more issues down the road. This can involve having employment liability insurance and alternative facilities pre-identified with plans for action in place.
4. Crisis actions
When formulating plans of action during a crisis, a company should consider how fast actions can be taken, what notification systems should be in place and what safeguards or precautionary measure could possibly go wrong.
All workers should get proper training concerning the overall crisis response plan and their duties in carrying it out. At a minimum, training should include the identification of warning signs, appropriate reactions to take, how to report incidents, emergency lock-down procedures and evacuation procedures.
6. Incident drills
Obsolete and untested procedures can give a false sense of security and put employees at a higher risk of operational failure. Preparation drills could range from PowerPoint walkthroughs to full-scale exercises.
Given the potentially-traumatic subject matter, these drills should always be announced in advance and never be a surprise.
7. Integrate with natural disaster response plans
While a workplace violence incident is very different form a natural disaster, these plans must both fall within the organizations greater framework. These differences and commonalities in these plans need to be highlighted to increase fidelity and proper use of resources.
At NSC Technologies, we support all of our clients’ employee safety initiatives. If your company is currently looking for a supportive staffing partner, please contact us today.