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January 18, 2016

Workplace Safety

As we ring in the New Year full of hope and optimism, there is no getting around the fact the world in which we live has become unsettling. Over the past several years we’ve seen an increase in workplace violence due to various reasons such as a disgruntled employees, a depressed employee, or a family member of an employee who chooses to inflict harm at their spouse’s workplace.

This article is not meant to frighten, but rather provide information and ideas that may someday save your life and the lives of your colleagues. Some form of workplace violence affects over two million workers a year—with approximately seven hundred of those losing their lives. Staying vigilant and getting to know your colleagues is important. Being proactive and having a plan should any form of violence occur, is key to staying safe.

Run, Hide, Fight—although self-explanatory—is a strategy that every employee should be aware of and prepared to use (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK9lMgzwMXA).
Run: Should there be any form of violence the first thing you do is run… Know your escape routes, grab your phone and run, but if this means leaving your personal belongings behind then so be it. Make sure when you exit the building you do so with your hands up high in case the police have responded. You do not want them to mistake you for the perpetrator.
Hide: If you are unable to get out of the office or building then silence your phone and find a safe place to hide such as a under your desk, a storage closet, a bathroom, an office, anywhere that can be locked and as far away from the violence as possible. You’ll want to barricade the doors with any type of furniture such as a desk, a file cabinet, a chair, etc.… Whatever you can do to buy yourself and your colleagues some time is essential. It’s been shown that an active shooter’s objective is to inflict as much bodily harm as possible, but if they are unable to get into a room or office they will most likely continue on their way.
Fight: Your last resort… You must be prepared and willing to fight for your life and the lives of your colleagues. There is strength in numbers and although an individual may have a weapon, with the right mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to survive, you and your colleagues can overwhelm the suspect.

We all think that this will never happen to us, but rather to someone else. Unfortunately this is not the case, so the best way to survive is to be prepared and practice. For additional resources please go to:

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/

http://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness

http://www.crisisprevention.com/Resources/Knowledge-Base/Workplace-Violence

As mentioned previously, the intent is not to frighten but rather to provide some basic information and resources that may help maintain a safe work environment for you and your colleagues.

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