Lead, follow, or just plain get the hell out of the way!

by todaystrainingblog

We’ve heard that phrase, literally, for decades. I’m not sure who coined it, but it certainly applies when you begin discussing having on site security. More importantly, though, is when you begin thinking about trying to mitigate the carnage that a workplace violence (WPV) incident can cause.

YOU need to be the one to lead the company through this quagmire of detail and time. Not the legal department. Not the c-suite. Not human resources. No one but YOU. u It’s up to you to be the leader and not a follower. Nor do you want to get the hell out of the way, like the supervisor at U.S. Security Associates in 2010 (when a former employee came back into the facility he ran and hid and did… nothing but hide. https://todays-training.com/2015/04/14/security-contractor-fined-47-million-over-wpv-incident/)

So what are the steps you need to take before you can be relatively assured that you are as safe as you can be? And that answer has to be without erecting guard towers, 10 foot fences topped with razor wire, and officers patrolling with their Uzi’s & hand grenades at the ready! I will attempt to give a short list of what I think is needed.

This list will not explain every step. The facility is yours. And the company culture will dictate what kind of measures you can implement, heaven forbid if someone is inconvenienced by them. Every facility and company culture is different.

  • Writing a disaster recovery plan for all issues not just WPV
  • Conducting a complete & thorough security assessment, which by necessity includes inventory control, parking, access, physical, alarms, officers, & door control
  • Auditing background checks & procedures to ensure that someone who may be prone to violence is monitored if you hire them
  • Auditing HR policies & procedures as it relates to the many facets of WPV and the possibility of restraining orders being served. This would include bullying, harassment, fights, & etc.
  • Auditing the termination policies & procedures and also by necessity the possibility of a high risk termination. Which means protection for the manager conducting the termination as well as everyone else within the facility.
  • Auditing security policies & procedures in regards to domestic violence, restraining orders, & threats by anyone. How will you protect people at work, to & from their vehicle, & what other assistance will/can you offer
  • Ensuring that you have emergency back-up in security if needed. Having a security company that can have an armed officer(s) on-site within a few hours is a definite plus. Or just extra officers period
  • Your employee assistance program is ready to go at a moments notice. Counseling for grief & mental health among the many facets of this
  • What about your customer service attitude and how it affects potentially violent people?
  • Has your entire company been trained in what to do in the case of an active shooter or perpetrator? Training for security problems shouldn’t just be a security issue
  • Training your employees with the fight, hide, or run scenarios along with table top exercises utilizing lead and supervisory personnel as well
  • Are you emergency call lists up-to-date?

And going along with that is your security operations manual up-to-date or does it look like testimony from a senate committee and highly redacted?

As I stated above, these are only a few of the points that need to be looked at and covered when discussing a WPV plan of action. These plans can be detailed oriented and time consuming. That’s why I would always recommend a consultant for them.

However, if the financial resources for security are tight, as most are, then you’ll have to purchase something that may not be as effective. A ‘Plan of Action in a box/book/program/app is a good starting point. Unfortunately that starting point is like saying you can build a car with a tire as a starting place.

Take the pains to do it right. The consequences of not doing it right can cost you, and your company, millions. All you have to do is look at other cases of inadequate security, WPV, inadequate training, & supervision and the like to understand. After the incident, which is when you’ll usually get the resources, is too late to do it the right way.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                     I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear