Dear Just Ask Judy:
“There was a recent threat of a shooting in my workplace. How do I know my organization is taking the necessary steps to protect all employees? … Concerned in Wisconsin
Dear Concerned in Wisconsin:
Remember when you did fire drills in elementary school… if you were like me, you enjoyed the 10 minutes away from class, but children do not understand there is sound methodology behind that regular training…methodology used by almost every high-level military, intelligence, law enforcement and high-performance team in the world. Hold onto that thought…. we will come back to it shortly.
Each workplace is unique, and it is imperative that an organizational culture of safety and security is emphasized by the leaders and managers at your business. I contacted Dan Hanlon with The Noble Group to seek some guidance. Dan shared with me some fascinating background information as well as some specific actions you can take to improve your workplace safety.
Dan noted it is essential to conduct a comprehensive review of policy, protocol, and training for all employees. The level of violence in our society is at unprecedented levels and this is evident in the level of violence in our workplaces as well. According to www.gunviolencearchive.org, a website which tracks mass shootings where four or more are injured or killed, there were 693 mass shootings in the United States in 2021. The number of mass shootings has more than doubled since 2018 from 336 mass shootings. Statistics vary, but what is known is well over half of mass shooting incidents are occurring at businesses.
Addressing sixty-three active shooting incidents in the US between 2000 and 2013 to identify who may be on a pathway to deadly violence, an FBI study1 noted nearly two-thirds of active shooters (62%) had a history of acting in an “abusive, harassing and oppressive way” including incidents of “excessive bullying and workplace harassment.” Where an active shooter’s primary grievance could be identified, the most common grievances were related to an adverse interpersonal or employment action against the shooter.
Workplace safety and security must be a daily priority to be effective at a level which mitigates the risk of harm. This includes understanding what has, and has not, worked in keeping employees safe in past incidents of workplace violence. While every critical incident is chaotic with often tragic results, there are tangible steps based on best practices in creating a safer workplace environment. An overview of the person you hire, knowledge that employees are not impaired at work, and threat assessments are all effective tools in creating and maintaining a culture of safety and security.
Mr. Hanlon emphasized that you cannot predict or control how “Active Assailant” incidents unfold, however you can prepare mentally and train through stress-inducing scenarios to develop a conditioned response under stress. Commercial airlines condition your safety response to critical incidents on every single flight. Response protocol through conditioning a safety response under stress creates an understanding of how you will react, defend yourself, and survive based on best practices. Every employee knowing and periodically training proper response protocol is critical to their overall safety. The fire drills in elementary school conditioned you through training to respond to the “worst case scenario.” With the unprecedented, increasing, and unyielding number of violent workplace incidents, crisis response protocol provides this same training opportunity to help you survive today’s “worst case scenario” in your workplace.
We appreciate Dan briefing us on this important topic and invite you to contact him if you would like further guidance. Dan’s Noble Group provides the tools to mitigate risk through four connected business units – Noble Medical (drug testing products), Noble Diagnostics (DOT and non-DOT drug testing management), Noble Backgrounds, and Noble Six (Situational Awareness and Critical Incident Training, Security Assessments, Emergency Response Protocol). You can reach Dan via Email at email@example.com or by phone at 414-207-0441
Providing a safe and secure workplace has never been more important! I hope I have alleviated your concerns with the knowledge that there are steps you can take to mitigate risk and create a safer workplace for your employees!
1 Silver, J., Simons, A., & Craun, S. (2018). A Study of the Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States between 2000 and 2013. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20535.