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Violence in the Workplace – Document and Mitigate

The U.S. Department of Labor defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior”. This means that every business and worksite is a potential location of workplace violence. Do you have customers, employees, vendors or visitors? These are all potential threats to your location and security program.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that corporations spend in excess of $36 billion dollars each year in remediating costs from instances of workplace violence. This can be seen in medical bills, lost hours or damages to the company. By training your workforce, documenting a policy of zero tolerance and having open reporting and review of complaints, you can drastically reduce the chances of succumbing to an incident. A checklist of training for new hires and employees can ensure that everyone is aware of the resources available, behaviors to look for in the workplace, reporting procedures and more. Keeping this at the forefront of everyone’s mind is just as important as ensuring they are aware of fire alarm procedures and other critical company policies.

Now, let’s say you have done all of that. Early detection and the incorporation of highly advanced technologies can provide the situational awareness needed to quickly enact lock down measures, notify law enforcement or evacuate before things escalate. Here are some examples:

June 22nd, 2018 – Two employees at J&R Engineering in Barberton, OH, engaged in a verbal dispute. During the argument one employee pulled out a gun and shot the other employee. During the hiring process the perpetrator in this incident was considered “under disability”. This could mean several things such as suffers from PTSD, is a recovering from substance abuse, etc. It is unknown exactly what measures were taken to monitor said disability, but quickly intervening in the verbal dispute would have been a technique to have potentially kept the incident from escalating. Depending on the availability of employees or supervisors in the area, it is advisable to make sure that there are other security measures available to bring awareness to first responders. Cameras, sound detection and weapon detection technologies can be incorporated to help arm security teams to assess, identify and respond to potentially escalating incidents.

June 28th, 2018 – a man with a grudge against the Capitol Gazette in Annapolis, MD, enters the office armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades. In the ensuing violence five journalists are killed and two are injured. In a location open to the public, an inviting space for visitors is understandable, but multiple layers of security should still be in place. The perpetrator in this case was somehow known to the Gazette. It remains unclear, however, if he was on a watch list. Being able to quickly identify a known threat by face or vehicle provides critical seconds in which one may notify security, lock the doors and take the appropriate measures to ensure the location is secure. It is very important to keep documentation on persons that have made threats, had difficult terminations or are known domestic abusers. It is not uncommon for personal life to spill into the workplace.

July 13th, 2018 – an employee at Warren Paving in Gulfport, MS was terminated. He was able to reenter the building after being let go and fire multiple shots inside. No one was injured in the incident, but again having steps in place to restrict access and know if an offender is approaching the building is a strong layer-one security plan.

As you can see, the need to harvest those crucial seconds prior to an incident is necessary to reduce the injuries, damages and costs from workplace violence incidents. This remains one of the primary reasons Knightscope focuses its efforts on creating a commanding presence, gathering actionable intelligence and delivering it to security professionals in real-time … and why so many of our clients are renewing their contracts after their first year of successful autonomous security service.



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