How to Prepare for an Active Shooter and Violence in the Workplace

January 16, 2017

Does your company have protocols for dealing with workplace violence and do you know what the plan is for handling disgruntled customers or coworkers? Are you prepared?


To access helpful workplace violence resources and more, go to Curated Compliance comprehensive resource library now!


The realities of workplace violence are sobering. Despite the prevalence of an “It can’t happen to me,” or “That can’t happen here,” attitude, the truth is that workplace violence can happen anywhere and can be devastating for the employees and staff.


Why should companies prepare? - Statistics on workplace violence in the US:  

  • 2nd leading cause of on-the-job fatalities, behind automobile accidents.

  • Leading cause of death in the workplace for women.

  • 2 million American workers report being a victim of workplace violence every year.

  • Businesses are the most common location of active shooter attacks.

    • The FBI reports that 45.6% of active shooter incidents occur at a commercial areas with and without pedestrian traffic.

  • Costs the American workforce $36 Billion annually.

What are the requirements? - OSHA requirements for business: A duty to protect


The failure of an employer to address the threat of an active shooter in the workplace can be an Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) violation under the General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)1). It requires employers to provide their employees a place of employment that is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm. OSHA violations can lead to citations, fines, lawsuits and damage to institutional reputation.


Recent court rulings throughout the country have allowed negligence suits filed by victims of Active Shooters to proceed against employers for failing to provide defensive training to their employees.  In other words, companies can no longer avoid their corporate responsibility to provide training on both how to spot potential active shooters and on how to react if confronted.


What can companies do? - Assess, prepare, practice, act


The Department of Homeland Security has developed a series of materials to assist businesses, government offices, and schools in preparing for and responding to an active shooter. These resources include a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card.

Issues covered in the active shooter materials include the following:

  • Profile of an active shooter;

  • Responding to an active shooter or other workplace violence situation;

  • Training for an active shooter situation and creating an emergency action plan; and

  • Tips for recognizing signs of potential workplace violence.

To access all these helpful workplace violence resources and more, go to Curated Compliance comprehensive resource library now!


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