Employers have an obligation to keep their employees safe. They must mitigate or eliminate risks to health and safety as much as is reasonably possible.
From providing ergonomically adapted equipment to fixing damaged facilities to ensuring fire suppression and escape systems are working properly, good employers invest significantly in resources that keep their employees safe.
But have most employers considered their obligation to keep employees safe from active shooters?
It’s a question raised by OSHA, and one that attorneys are eager to answer, too, as this advertisement illustrates.
Active shooter events that take place in a school, and office building, a mall, a nightclub, or a place of worship are all taking place inside someone’s workplace. And whether the event is part of an international terrorist plot or it is the overflow domestic violence, it’s traumatizing to all who are involved.
“Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees,” says section 5A1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. That includes protecting workers against workplace violence. Employers are now at risk of being fined by OSHA if they have failed to provide adequate training and protection against active shooter events.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s analysis of a study by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 80 percent of the 160 active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013 took place in a workplace.
“Of the 132 worksite shootings, 73 incidents (45.6 percent) took place at businesses, 39 (24.4 percent) at schools, 16 (10 percent) at government sites, and four at health care facilities (2.5 percent),” according to the SHRM.
A total of 210 people were killed and an additional 272 were wounded in worksite shootings, according to the study.
What can employers do to reduce risk and keep employees safe from an active shooter?
1. Assess current policies and procedures, and make updates as necessary.
2. Include training in how to identify risk factors for workplace violence.
3. Educate your employees on your emergency response policies, and practice, practice, practice.
4. Add shooter detection systems. Just as employers include fire suppression and alarm systems, they should consider shooter detection systems to facilities.
Shooter Detection System’s Guardian uses acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots inside a facility. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately. Warnings are also instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. Guardian gunshot detection can also be integrated with a number of other systems, including text alerts, incident management dashboards and building systems like door locks and video surveillance.
Interested in learning more about the Guardian active shooter detection system? Register now for one of our Live Fire events to see a live demonstration, or call us at (800) 567-1180.