Workplace violence Office Safety Tips

More than half of employers have updated workplace violence policies: survey

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Photo: Littler Mendelson

San Francisco – Fifty-two percent of employers have updated or implemented a “zero tolerance” workplace violence prevention policy in response to mass shootings at U.S. workplaces in recent years, according to the results of a survey conducted by labor law firm Littler Mendelson.

Researchers surveyed 844 in-house counsel, human resources professionals, C-suite executives and others from a variety of industries for The Executive Employer Survey, released on July 12. Other highlights from the survey:

  • 40 percent of employers have developed an emergency response plan, as well as a pre-employment screening process.
  • 38 percent have conducted employee training sessions about how to recognize and respond to a potentially violent situation.
  • 33 percent have performed a safety and security audit.
  • 28 percent have conducted active shooter response training.

Eleven percent of respondents said they have taken no action because violence is not considered an issue at their workplace, while another 1 percent have not acted for fear of violating disability or discrimination laws.

“Putting policies in place to increase awareness of workplace violence and ensure that employees understand how to report threats in the workplace are steps that all employers would be advised to take,” Terri Solomon, a Littler shareholder with experience counseling employers on workplace violence prevention, said in a press release. “Unfortunately, even though workplace violence – and particularly active shooter instances – are statistically rare, no employer is truly immune, so taking preventative action can help save lives.”

Ben Huggett, a shareholder in Littler Mendelson’s Philadelphia office, said employers could take sensible steps to help protect workers.

“Workplace violence prevention is something that everyone in the country is paying attention to these days, even though it is predominantly a law-enforcement issue when you’re talking about third-party criminal actions related to safety in the workplace,” Huggett said during an interview with Safety+Health. “We have to balance those two things: the occurrence of the events and the need for some reasonable, practical planning for a particular workplace without each and every one of us trying to become law-enforcement officials and take on all of those responsibilities.”

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