Workplace Security: Don't lose your focus!

[tweetmeme]Despite increases in workplace security measures since 9/11 terrorist attacks, nearly one-third of all businesses still allow unauthorized visitors to enter their buildings.

With all the emphasis given to facility security immediately following 9/11, it’s astonishing, that as little as 8 years later many companies have either abandoned their security efforts or scaled them back to in some cases pre-9/11 levels.

According to a survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group, a leading workers’ compensation provider, most companies initially beefed-up security efforts.   However,  a  survey of nearly 400 employers also found that fewer than half of those questioned currently conduct periodic emergency evacuation drills.   And it revealed that unauthorized entry was cited as the leading security threat, followed by (co)employee harassment and employee on employee violence.   Interestingly enough, a minuscule 11% said they or a colleague had experienced unprotected occupational exposure to chemicals and other substances.

So how do you effectively manage your security risk?  Consider the use of photo or other positive identification cards for employees, key card entry and requiring visitors to sign in upon entry and be accompanied by an authorized employee during their visits.

Additionally, to minimize the chance for violence, use strategies like carefully controlling access to workplace facilities and training managers and supervisors on warning signs that potentially violent employees may exhibit.   The use of a zero tolerance policy for any type of violence, including verbal and physical threats, as well as the destruction of property is critical to the overall success of any safety and/or security plan.  You should also consider the following:

  • Integrating your workplace security plan with other health and safety or emergency planning documents is a smart way to start the process.   Parts of other plans, such as an emergency evacuation plan, can also be used in planning how to respond to a criminal or violent emergency.   You should also schedule regular (annual) training for all effected employee, which should include information on all plans.
  • Identifying security risks helps you prepare in greater detail for problems that are more likely to occur.   Some risks are not easily identifiable or quantifiable so get multiple perspectives on the situation, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from other managers, or consider bringing in an experienced professional for help.
  • Train all new employees on the essential elements of the plan.   Since criminal or violent emergencies do not happen often (knock on wood), employees are likely to forget what to do without (at least) annual reinforcement training.   Also make sure you periodically review your Workplace Security Plan regularly to ensure its applicability as your facility needs change.

For more information on security plans you can visit the following:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

U.S. Department of Defense

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

White House Homeland Security

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