Preventing Workplace Violence: An Inside-Out Approach to Security and Safety
We exist in a world where violent intruders are the new norm and taking steps to ensure workplace safety has never been more crucial for employers. While security measures like access control and video cameras have become standard, many organizations continue to lack comprehensive, risk-based security plans.
WHAT DOES A "COMPREHENSIVE SECURITY PLAN" REALLY ENTAIL?
It’s easy to assume that a comprehensive plan involves installing physical security equipment. While helpful and necessary, the implementation of these measures does not fully address the shortcomings we face in safeguarding our workplaces.
To adequately and comprehensively protect these organizations—and the people in them—companies must adopt the “inside-out” approach to workplace safety. This approach centers wholly on the belief that without a comprehensive security plan in place, workplaces remain vulnerable to crimes committed by an unexpected class of potentially dangerous people: Trusted Insiders.
Many of today’s incidents, including/ cyber-attacks and violent intruders, are masterminded by those with trusted access to company networks and facilities.
By strengthening security program elements, workplaces can build an effective security strategy.
INTERVENTION -> DETECTION -> PREVENTION
Implementing countermeasures—including prevention training, background investigations for employees and third-party contractors, anonymous reporting, and behavioral intervention/threat assessment teams—is key to intervention, detection, and prevention.
PROACTIVE OVER REACTIVE
While it’s difficult to identify a wholly soundproof solution, the “inside-out” approach focuses on setting strong prevention and intervention methods that are proactive rather than reactive. When organizations take this approach, they give themselves the tools to intervene earlier in the incident lifecycle before a threat escalates into a full-scale emergency.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The following countermeasures are key to enhancing prevention, intervention, and detection and can help workplaces adopt a stronger protocols to protect their people and resources in the event of a threat.
Community Education and Prevention
Consider a community-based approach, designed to help people take responsibility for themselves, the people around them, and the communities they live and work in. It’s critical to think of ways in which the entire community may be aware of insider threats and how they can be proactive in prevention or in getting the necessary intervention response. Organizations should consider ways to infuse this information into ongoing training and communication. In providing mandatory workshops for employees throughout the year, organizations can take a microlearning approach over acute training to ensure that individuals are able to engage the material more effectively and directly.
An “inside-out” approach suggests that implementing perimeter protections, which include cameras and card readers, is crucial to an overall security plan. Equally important is the use of anonymous reporting, which must be readily available to employees, coupled with microlearning opportunities that instruct users through user-friendly apps or websites.
This strategy involves more than calling the police or calling 911. These anonymous reports are sent to trained professionals who then evaluate and respond accordingly to the potential threat that is being reported. It’s just as important for organizations to utilize ever-evolving technology innovations, particularly as mobile and web-based apps favored by Millennials and Gen-Z continue to emerge and gain popularity.
Companies must incorporate and adapt their policies and protocols to keep pace with user preferences to enhance response to security threats and concerns.
Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment Teams
Organizations need to designate a team that is fully informed of vital moving parts—including employees; workplace IT, and security systems; and their vulnerabilities along with the threats that could affect them. Clearly highlight the risks posed by insider threats, then prioritize the risks and continuously assess and enhance security infrastructure according to risk priority.
These professionally trained teams are an essential part of any security response plan and should be provided with effective, comprehensive training to help them identify and assess potential threats of violence or cases of mental health.
Managing Third Parties
Many employers conduct employment screening as part of their hiring practices, but it’s critically important to consistently apply these practices when creating an overall comprehensive security plan. In hiring third-party contractors, employers must hold them to the same standards prior to assignment within your organization.
By taking an “inside-out” approach, organizations are better equipped to identify potential threats and intervene earlier in the incident lifecycle before a situation escalates. The more we can educate people about what to look for, or how to install better protocols to prevent, rather than respond to violence, the more effective we can be at keeping ourselves and our teams safe.
For more than 20 years, Omnigo software solutions have been the preferred choice for law enforcement, education, healthcare, gaming, hospitality, and corporate enterprises. Currently, Omnigo’s solutions are used by over 2,000 customers in 20 different countries. At Omnigo, we’re committed to helping customers secure their organizations’ property, control operational costs, and ensure the safety of the general public.
We believe our customers deserve the best support available to protect their people, assets, and brand. We also understand how challenging it can be to protect the community without the proper resources. We’re here to arm users with the best tools in the industry. With a team that includes former law enforcement, first responders, and other public safety professionals, we’re uniquely qualified to understand exactly what our customers need to protect their community.
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