Workplace violence is one of the most troubling issues keeping HR professionals and in-house counsel up at night – and with good reason. Just last week alone, there were three workplace shootings in a span of 24 hours. In 2018, workplace shootings have occurred coast to coast, in rural, suburban and urban settings. And, according to OSHA, approximately two million employees report being victims of workplace violence each year.

Employers should periodically evaluate workplace initiatives that can reduce the potential for workplace violence. While each workplace is unique in some way, and no list can be fully exhaustive, below is a checklist of items to consider putting in your arsenal to prevent workplace violence:

  • requiring photo identification badges
  • mandating that visitors register before entering a facility
  • employing on-site security personnel and/or installing metal detectors at building entrances
  • checking bags at building entrances
  • installing silent alarms and/or violent intruder buttons
  • locking storage and maintenance areas when possible
  • reducing cash at sites
  • installing video surveillance and/or additional lighting
  • providing escorts for employees working at night or in sparsely-occupied facilities
  • working with local law enforcement personnel to establish an emergency action plan
  • training an internal incident response team
  • designing and implementing a policy of zero tolerance for workplace violence
  • implementing and promoting an open door policy where employees can raise concerns
  • applying fair, consistent discipline of employees for all workplace violations
  • training employees on the employer’s workplace violence and open door policies
  • instructing employees how to recognize potential signs of violent behavior and how to take safety precautions to protect themselves
  • responding promptly to, and thoroughly investigating, employee grievances per company policies
  • establishing and promoting the use of the company’s employee assistance program
  • responding to employee reports of domestic violence issues, as they can impact the workplace
  • reviewing, if applicable, OSHA-issued workplace violence prevention guidelines for healthcare and social service workers, workers in late-night retail establishments and taxi and for-hire drivers