In the digital age of the twenty-first century, more and more business is being conducted online thanks to the popularity of the internet, world wide web, and cloud services. While these services allow for online transactions, the companies behind them still have physical workplaces that must deal with the potential threat of gun violence. Workplace shootings may not be top-of-mind with so many people currently working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic (if they’re working at all), but for business owners, this might also be a time to evaluate what changes and improvements could be made for great safety in the corporate environment.
Corporate Shootings Threaten Safety More than Most Think
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when it comes to safety in the workplace, shooting events are 30 times more common than building fires. But if you were to ask workers at any company which of those events they think would be more likely to happen, you can bet most would say a fire is a much likelier threat than a shooting. Do a Google search on “corporate security trends 2020” and 99% of the results will be about cybersecurity for protecting information, data, and cloud services. Cybersecurity has taken the spotlight, which is understandable with so much business happening now on the internet, but it’s a huge mistake to focus on that to exclusion of physical safety concerns. Every corporation in the United States has a responsibility to do everything in its power to protect the safety of each and every employee in its care, including preventing gun violence from happening.
Shootings in the Workplace: Warning Signs
The actors who perpetrate workplace gun violence are always first talked about in the media as being loners who weren’t on anyone’s radar screen kept to themselves and didn’t show any indications they might attack. But the real story often doesn’t make it into the media cycle in time for people to hear the truth. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified clear indicators in the lead up to a workplace shooting, and in 70% of all cases, all the warning signs were present. Take the guy who shot up his warehouse workplace in Aurora, Illinois in February 2019. He was going into work that day knowing he was going to be fired, and as he was clocking in he told a coworker if he was fired he would “shoot the place up.” The coworker said nothing to anyone about this. The warning signs are often there, and all too often are just ignored. After all, no one wants to take casual communications like that seriously. In reality, no place can afford not to take them seriously.
Training Programs to Increase Workplace Safety and Security
As disturbing as they may be for some people, active shooter training and drills for employees should be at least as common as fire drills, given a fire at work is much less likely to happen than a shooting event. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website has a publication any corporation or business might find helpful called Active Shooter: How to Respond. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t provide guidance specific to active shooters, but in 2017 did publish a related directive called Enforcement Procedures and Scheduling for Occupational Exposure to Workplace Violence that makes it clear companies need to have plans and training in place for these kinds of events.
Public-Facing Businesses Face Unique Challenges
While any company with offices is at risk for gun violence, those that have storefronts open to the public for consumers to make browse and make purchases are especially vulnerable, with the worst workplace shooting of all being the one that took place at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that left 22 dead and another 26 injured. In these cases, the business has to figure out how to protect not just the employee, but also the customer from an active shooter event.
Law Enforcement Responds Quickly, But Rarely Fast Enough
Law enforcement can’t be everywhere at the same time, and although these days they can often respond to active shooter incidents in a workplace within minutes, unfortunately, it only takes about that long for bad actors to make their malicious attack. And while no place is safer, it’s true that workplace gun violence is more likely to happen in major metropolitan areas. Cities like Chicago, Boston, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles have all had their share of workplace shootings. Tracking the data on workplace violence can be every bit as depressing as school shootings, but it’s also a wakeup call to find better ways to ensure the effective protection of employees. We send our children off to school every day with the reasonable assurance they will be safe. Similarly, workers are hired with the reasonable expectation that they can work safely.
Planning for Better Corporate Security in 2020
If your workplace is emptier than usual because of the pandemic, now might be the opportune moment to take stock of how you can enhance the safety and security of your corporate offices with protective bulletproofing materials and furniture. Creative Industries has been in the bulletproofing industry for more than 30 years. We take a collaborative approach with each client to understand your business and how we can provide an effective solution. While our products can’t prevent an attacker from attempting to wreak havoc in your workplace, they can make the attack much less effective. Our bulletproofing solutions include windows, deal trays, talk thrus, drawers, and pass thrus. But we can also customize all kinds of furniture and doors to provide your employees bulletproof sheltering and hiding options.