Is Your Workplace Prepared for an Active Shooter?

By Morgan Grant | 12/13/2017

In today’s current environment, workplaces are now a target for mass shootings and casualties in the U.S. This increase has many employers asking themselves, “what can I do to keep my employees safe?” While most workplace shootings are completely unpredictable, there are some precautions employers can take to prevent, prepare for, and protect against an active shooter in the workplace.

Prevention and Planning

Set Some Guardrails

If you haven’t already, employers can implement strict zero-tolerance policies regarding harassment and violence, and enforce them. By doing this, you’re creating a stronger, more protective culture against bad behavior. You’ll also need to update any employee handbooks, and ensure all employees read and sign-off on the new or improved policies.

Look for Signs

With stricter policies in place, you’ll be able to identify potentially threatening employees and handle them appropriately. Many workplace shootings involve a disgruntled employee who exhibited some signs of retaliation or aggression toward another coworker or supervisor. Here are a few red flags to look for:

  • Excessive lateness or absence
  • Talk about “putting affairs in order”
  • Random outbursts or excessive agitation
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

These red flags don’t necessarily make someone a violent threat, but can cause an employee to act out in a negative way toward other coworkers. Employers should keep an eye out for disgruntled employees, and try to resolve the situation early on to reduce the chance it escalates to a more severe level.

Educate Your Employees

Now teach your employees what you’ve learned. The best way to do this is through an Active Shooter Training Course. These are classes taught by certified instructors who will come to your workplace, or available through online courses. Employers may also want to review information from the Department of Homeland Security and their Active Shooter Educational Booklet.

Employers should also develop an Active Shooter Plan, designate safe escape plans, and guidance toward the nearest exits of each area clearly marked.

Following Protocol

Things happen, even with all the preparation and planning in the world. If you experience a workplace shooting, remember the protocol below:

RUN

  • Follow your escape route
  • Leave belongings behind
  • Keep your hands visible

HIDE

  • Hide out of sight from a shooter’s view
  • Try to find an office and move furniture in front of the door
  • Silence your cellphone and any other devices

FIGHT

  • As a last resort, fight
  • Throw items, and act with physical aggression

When the Police Come…

  • Drop anything in your possession and keep your hands up
  • Do not get in their way or yell out to them
  • Remember, their first objective will be to find and incapacitate the shooter

Workplace Shootings and Workers' Comp

The recovery process from a workplace shooting is in-depth, and varies depending on each situation. When it comes to workers’ comp and coverage in the event of a workplace shooting, it often depends on the state, and the carrier’s policy. If you do find that your specific state doesn’t offer coverage for a workplace shooting, employers can purchase an additional policy to cover employees in the event of a workplace shooting.

Concentra wants the best for your employees, and we take workplace safety seriously. Talk to one of our experts for a comprehensive, workplace safety plan, and make us part of your team.