By Mark Ferrebee – Regional Sales Manager, Murray Guard, Inc.
We live in an ever-changing world. Last year, OSHA established April as National Workplace Violence Prevention Month. In 2013, the Bureau of Labor statistics reported more than 23,000 significant injuries due to assaults in the workplace. More than 70 percent of these injuries were in healthcare and social service settings. But this still leaves a significant number of workplace violence incidents in the private sector at 6,900.
The attacks on Dec. 3, 2015 in San Bernardino, California have brought to the forefront the scope of danger that exists in our society. In a matter of minutes, a holiday office party turned tragic with the loss of 14 lives and 22 others seriously injured.
Awareness of people is the key to help identify those who are intent on hurting others. The signs are not always the same, however, here are some characteristics to consider when evaluating a fellow employee’s personality and behavior.
- Lacking in interpersonal skills
- Dysfunctional life / relationships
- Much is affected by mental disposition
- Shares feelings of exclusion, being shunned
- Ashamed of and frustrated by inadequacies
- Makes threats against individuals or society as a whole
- Sadistic, self-destructive, suicidal
With respect to an active shooter/workplace violence event, here are some things to consider as a Property Manager.
- What is the role of Security – Property Management – Engineering?
- How will we notify the tenants/each other?
- What do we need to do with the tenants and public in the lobby?
- How can we protect the lives of people in the building?
- How do we best cooperate with police?
- What are the short-term/long-term recovery plans/considerations?
A couple of things that every company should have in place are a policy that defines workplace violence and a “cheat sheet” so that everyone knows his/her role. Everyone must plan and be aware that violence can occur at any time, any place.
As an individual, you should always be aware of the environment around you; know your evacuation routes; practice placing your phone on silent and dialing 911; practice mental imagery of your plan and reaction to different situations; and encourage your co-workers to get involved in training for the “what if.” I hope this is not the new “norm;” however, this is the new reality, and we must face the possibility that workplace violence or an active shooter event can happen. Make it a personal goal to be a difference-maker, not a by-stander.
Mark Ferrebee has 20 years of business development and customer service experience supporting client service programs throughout Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. As a Regional Sales Manager with Murray Guard, Mark is responsible for the growth of new business partnerships and customer relations, providing service solutions for a variety of client sites. Throughout his career, Mark has participated in a number of programs including the FBI Citizens Academy, Cobb County Public Safety Academy, and the Community Emergency Response Team. Mark is currently an active member of CREW Atlanta, as well as ASIS and serves on the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day committee. He works closely with numerous property managers in metro Atlanta to ensure a safe and secure environment for their properties.
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