By Jake G. Bennett Co-Founder and CEO of S.W.T.C
The Virginia Beach shooting on Friday, May 31, which left 12 dead, is another incident in a disturbing trend. Over the last decade workplace violence–specifically workplace homicides–have been increasing at an alarming rate. In 2015, the last year the Bureau of Labor released statistics, workplace homicides accounted for 9% of work related fatalities. However, in 2017 the National Safety Council reported this number to have risen to 16%.
Gun violence accounts for 85% of workplace fatalities according to the Bureau of Labor, which is disturbing by itself considering almost half of active shooter events occur in places of business, according to Activeshooterdata.org. Between the increasing prevalence of active shooters and workplace homicides big business needs to take key steps to protect their employees and themselves.
While the current trend in workplace shootings is between disgruntled coworkers, it is only a matter of time before this violence trickles up. Just as active shooter events like Las Vegas and New Zealand have become more sophisticated and planned out, so too will workplace incidents. The only place for a disgruntled worker to go is up, shifting their anger from coworkers to the management that they and the current culture of blame point the finger at.
Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate this trend. First: an increase in security for businesses at all levels and creating security that is an engaging force (read: armed) rather than grand examples of security theatre. Providing preventive training to employees and management helps to not only recognize obvious and late-stage signs of impending workplace violence, but subtle aggression patterns that lead to them.
Solutions exist such as quality training on how to handle an “active shooter” in a workplace environment, coupled with first aid skills like Stop the Bleed™ and good pre-incident planning within the company that is shared with any and all agencies that may respond. And lastly active shooter insurance.
While there are numerous solutions simple enough in written word they are, admittedly, sometimes too complex to implement. It is a hard problem to address, however, it is worth the effort and money and will return generously, both in peace of mind within the workforce and prevented costs of casualty