Workplace Violence: 5 Simple Safety Measures You Can’t Afford to Overlook

The recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and Lone Star College in Houston, Texas have many employers and employees asking, “How safe is my office, really?”

And they should be.

Approximately 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year, according to U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

So how do you keep your business from becoming part of this statistic? You can start by beefing up security in your workplace.

Here are five simple steps to help you keep your company and employees safe.

1. Install security cameras – even if you don’t turn them on.

While, a high-tech security system that has all the bells and whistles (literally) is recommended, it may not be in your budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create a convincing illusion that your business is well locked down.

Even if you can’t turn them on, put up security cameras. When criminals see them, they can’t necessarily tell whether they are on. It might be enough to discourage them from targeting your business.

2. Make sure your building and parking lots are well lit.

Often, attackers will use dark or poorly lit areas around your building to hide and wait for an opportunity to strike. Street lights may not provide adequate lighting for your workplace. If your employees work after dark, be sure they have a well-lit path to and from the building, especially around doorways and in the parking lot. And if possible, encourage employees to walk in pairs after dark.

3. Keep your storefront and windows clean and clear.

A well-kept storefront not only helps you attract customers, it can discourage criminals. In their mind, if you’re willing to invest time and money into making your business look good, then you’re probably going to go to great lengths to protect it as well. This might be enough to convince an offender to move onto an easier target.

Also, try to resist the urge to stick advertisements or decorations all over your windows. When you keep your windows clutter-free, you create a fishbowl effect, giving you a clear view of everything that is going on around your building. This way you can spot threats before they happen.

4. Set strict guidelines for controlling your cash.

If your business is responsible for handling large amounts of cash, you and your employees need to take special precautions. For example, if you’re regularly transporting cash, such as bank deposits, don’t follow a set schedule. This makes it more difficult for thieves to study your routine and plan out an attack.

Another way to deter criminals is to post signs that say cashiers have a limited amount of cash in their registers and your safes can’t be opened by employees. If they don’t think there is going to be a huge payout, a robber may be less likely to go after your business.

5. Implement a no-tolerance policy, and stick to it.

Many times, violent employees or customers aren’t first time offenders. Often, these people will display warning signs or act out on a smaller scale first. Don’t let these incidents go unnoticed.

For example, if employees start acting suspicious or you notice a significant change in behaviors, meet with them and address your concerns immediately. If at any point, anyone, employee or non-employee, acts aggressive or threatening, call the police right away.

Still not sure if your workplace is safe? Let Insperity help lower your risks and give you peace of mind.