Workplace Violence Preparedness: 4 Key Takeaways

Mar 22, 2024

Preparis recently hosted a workplace violence preparedness webinar featuring retired Atlanta PD Detective, Bill Hildebrand. Below are some of the key takeaways. 

Takeaway 1: Workplace violence is a growing problem, and employers need to be proactive in implementing plans and preparations.

Bill Hildebrand highlighted the prevalence of workplace violence, noting that 18,000 people experience it weekly. He also pointed out that 30% of workplace violence homicide victims work in retail, and 45% of active shooter incidents occur in a place of business. Furthermore, 39% of victims had a professional relationship with the attacker, and 7% had a familiar relationship with the attacker.

"It is so much cheaper to be proactive and put plans in place and put preparations in place than it is to be reactive and have to pay for things later down the line," said Hildebrand. "Each company or its building management is responsible for their building and responsible for the security."

Hildebrand highlighted the importance of being proactive in preventing workplace violence, rather than being reactive and dealing with the consequences later. Companies and building management need to be aware of the risks and take responsibility for the security of their premises.

Takeaway 2: Creating and practicing a crisis action plan to prepare for workplace violence scenarios is important.

To create an effective crisis action plan, everybody must participate. The plan should be regularly updated, and everyone involved should be trained on their responsibilities. Hildebrand suggested starting with tabletop exercises and then moving on to drills and full-scale exercises. He also recommended a multifaceted approach that uses the best tools for the organization, such as emergency notification tools, clipboards, and paper.

"You want to block that entry with heavy furniture, whatever you can use," said Hildebrand. "Even things as simple as a small rubber or wooden doorstop will keep doors from opening up a lot of times." He also suggested using items from the environment, such as laptops or backpacks, to deflect bullets, and physical aggression to incapacitate the attacker.

Hildebrand also suggested using a code word for emergencies and partnering with neighboring businesses to ensure everyone is on the same page. He advised identifying as many workplace violence scenarios as possible and creating an action plan that addresses them. Finally, he noted that it is important to regularly test and drill on the plans and adjust them as needed.

Takeaway 3: The Preparis Platform can help organizations create a plan to prepare for incidents, test their plans, and monitor their performance in real-time.

Preparis provides a platform to help companies plan for incidents, exercise those plans, and monitor their performance in real-time. According to Hildebrand, Preparis' platform includes Preparis Planner, which allows users to create a business continuity plan (BCP) with "simple self-guided solutions" and a BIA tool to evaluate and update the plan.

Additionally, it has Incident Manager to run drills and tests, and Alerts to send bi-directional messages.

Hildebrand said, "Preparis will help you raise some of your questions or issues that might already be active and help you come up with some of those solutions and then exercising your plan in safe mode and producing audit-ready reports."

This platform can help organizations achieve audit-ready compliance, create executive summaries to share with stakeholders, and monitor and measure performance metrics in real-time.

Takeaway 4: Businesses must perform vulnerability assessments and create plans for responding to potential disasters.

Hildebrand, an expert on emergency planning and response, discussed the importance of vulnerability assessments and emergency planning. "Every facility should have a vulnerability assessment done," he said.

"That's the starting point." He also explained that Preparis, a SaaS software, can help businesses create emergency plans.

Hildebrand suggested that businesses should prioritize awareness training and keeping track of current threats. "Just awareness is huge," he said. "And awareness training is huge and keeping track of those current threats."

Finally, Hildebrand proposed that businesses use the resources provided by Preparis to ensure they have the right plans in place. "We can point you in the right direction if you do have further questions," he said.

Responding to Workplace Violence Checklist

Use our checklist to help guide your organization's response to a workplace violence situation.