Maintaining a safe workplace environment

Police Car Lights Close UpYour company’s accident record is flawless, and you’ve memorized OSHA safety standards for first aid, falls and other accidents. Consider implementing a comprehensive safety plan that includes workplace violence.

On Monday, a Montgomery County, Maryland landscaping employee threatened co-workers with a shotgun and barricaded himself within building materials, according to WTOP, or Washington’s Top News. After a four-hour standoff with police, the disgruntled employee died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No one else was injured during the incident.

This and the thousands of other instances of violence at the job serves as a reminder to review or implement a safety plan that incorporates workplace violence issues.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has resources so that owners, management and employees work in a safe environment. According to OSHA, small-group and community work are especially prone to workplace violence.

If your company currently doesn’t have anti-violence policies in place, here are some tips and guidelines.

  • Create a zero-tolerance policy for workplace safety. Log and investigate any incidents, including reports of intimidation or threats.
  • Educate your employees on how to maintain personal safety and what to do if they see or witness an incident.
  • Consider increasing security around company property, such as surveillance cameras, extra lighting or ID-protected entrances.
  • Enforce a buddy system out in the field to ensure no one works alone and especially after hours.
  • Stay on top of trends within your company and other industries about workplace violence and discuss with your team.
  • If a violent incident occurs, debrief your team and offer post-traumatic stress counseling for everyone.
  • Check out the U.S. Department of Labor’s policy for federal workers.


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