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Do You Know What to Do When Violence Invades Your Workplace?

While there exists no foolproof way to protect your workplace against the kinds of tragedies that we've seen lately, these few steps can go a long way to putting you in the best place to deter and respond.

August 27, 2012

Tragically, mass shootings seem to be all the rage in America. The latest occurred last Friday morning outside New York City's Empire State Building. The shooter was a disgruntled ex-employee targeting his former coworkers.

Do you have a plan in your workplace for a shooting or other emergency? If not, OSHA offers a comprehensive guide for putting together an emergency action plan. According to OSHA, "the best way" to protect your business and your employees "is to prepare to respond to an emergency before it happens." Part of that preparation is the drafting of, implementation of, and training your employees about an emergency action plan.

The other part, though, is creating a culture in your workplace to deter violence, or spot potential violence, before it can happen. How can you accomplish this culture?

1. Treat employees with respect—while they work for you, during a termination, and even after they are no longer your employees.

2. Flag at-risk employees for assistance.

3. Offer employee assistance programs for those who need them.

4. Involve security personnel and local law enforcement at the first hint that an employee might turn violent.

As with most issues in the workplace, the proverbial ounce of prevention really matters. While there exists no foolproof way to protect your workplace against the kinds of tragedies that we've seen lately, these few steps can go a long way to putting you in the best place to deter and respond.

Written by Jon Hyman, a partner in the Labor & Employment group of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. For more information, contact Jon at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.