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Should Your Company Train for Mass Shootings, Workplace Violence?

By Andrew Lu on January 09, 2013 5:58 AM

Is it time for your company to address mass shootings? Does your workforce need training on how to escape, or how to avoid violent confrontations?

Several states like Alabama and Washington, believe so, and are encouraging employers to come up with training to address and prevent mass shootings.

In fact, some companies have even produced (corny) training videos that simulate what happens during an attack and what to do to protect yourself. The Alabama Department of Homeland Security's video is called "Run, Hide, Fight," while others bear titles such as "It Only Takes a Second," "Will You Be Here Tomorrow," and "Shake Hands With Danger," The Daily Beast reports.

But before you run out and hire a video production crew for your company, you should carefully consider whether your workplace needs to address this issue in the first place, and which type of training would be most effective.

A workplace can be a strange place where stress and tension are magnified and ordinary slights are not forgiven. As a result, there have been many deadly shootings at work carried out by ex-employees and disgruntled current workers.

Any workplace can be targeted for attack; it doesn't matter if the company is Disney or a gun manufacturer. Because despite all the cheesy cliches, it really only takes one bad employee to devastate a workplace.

So all workplaces should consider adopting a workplace violence policy and training employees on what to do in the event of an attack. This does not mean you have to run weekly drills, but you should ensure that employees at least know what to do in the event of the shooting (such as an evacuation plan) and that employees also know how to spot some potential red flags of workplace violence (like threats, fights, talk of weapons, or withdrawn employees).

Workplace shootings and violence are real threats for many workplaces. The costs of being prepared and knowing how to prevent potential tragedies is minimal compared to an actual tragedy itself.

With recent mass shootings still fresh in many people's minds, take this time to begin a dialogue with your workers about how to handle workplace violence, and what to do in the unlikely event of a workplace shooting.

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