Workplace violence is a real threat that many individuals may not believe will ever actually happen to them. It's important to be able to identify the signs of workplace violence before a situation turns dangerous. Awareness and preparedness are key.
Knowing what to do when workplace violence occurs can save lives. Workplace violence may include threats, hitting or punching, harassment, obscene calls, bomb threats, rape, shoving, shooting, and sabotage. It is important to act quickly, but in a calm manner.
- Have a designated emergency coordinator and full involvement from management.
- Have an emergency plan in place. All employees should know the emergency plan and practice it to increase familiarity with what to do in an emergency situation.
- All employees should know building evacuation plans and all exits.
- Notify authorities of trespassers or suspicious behavior.
- Be cautious about dark or isolated areas, especially after normal business hours.
- Call for help as soon as safely possible.
- Have an established emergency plan in place, and know how to quickly and safely execute it.
- Approach the subject(s) calmly. When talking to the subject(s), make sure they know you understand what has upset them and what they are going through.
Co-workers and Bystanders
- Call 9-1-1 and tell your supervisor or security personnel immediately.
- Carefully describe the subject(s) and situation as thoroughly as possible.
- Do not attempt to resolve the situation yourself.
- Leave the area to get to a safe place, away from the situation and out of potential danger.
- Do not change anything at the scene of the incident. Keep everything as it is, to help law enforcement with their investigation.
- As soon as safely possible, retreat to a secure location and seek help immediately.
- Do not resist, fight, or attempt to stop individuals holding a gun. If they want money or possessions, give it to them.
Active Shooter Situation
An active shooter situation is when an individual, or multiple individuals, are engaged in shooting or attempting to shoot people in a confined or populated area. If an active shooter is in your area, it is important to know how to respond. Call 9-1-1 when it is safe to do so, and provide important information such as the location and number of shooters, number and type of weapons used, potential victims, and an accurate physical description of the location and shooter(s).
- Know your organization’s emergency and evacuation plan. Have a safe route to escape and a plan in mind.
- Leave all belongings behind.
- Keep hands visible so law enforcement officers do not mistake you for having a weapon.
- Hide in a secluded area, out of the shooter(s)’ view.
- Block the entry to hiding places by any means necessary. Use tables, chairs, bookshelves, and other objects to obstruct entrance. Lock the doors, and cover any windows.
- Silence cell phones and other objects that can make noises.
- Take action only as a last resort and when your life is in imminent danger.
- Attempt to stop the shooter by any means necessary.
- Act with physical aggression and/or throw items at the shooter.
When Law Enforcement Arrives
- Remain calm and follow all instructions given.
- Put down any items you may be carrying, such as jackets, bags, and keys.
- Keep hands raised with fingers spread. Hands should be visible at all times.
- Do not point, scream, or yell.
- Avoid sudden movements toward officers and running to them or holding on to them for safety.
- Do not stop to ask for help or directions while evacuating. It is important to move everyone as quickly as possible.