The second workplace mass killing in three weeks begs the question of what businesses can do to protect workers from a violent attack. Five employees at Orlando's Fiamma factory died June 5 at when a disgruntled former co-worker selected them for death before turning the gun on himself.
Just three weeks earlier, two female health workers and a small-town police chief were slain at a Kirkersville, Ohio nursing home at the hands of a deranged shooter who was a convicted domestic abuser with warrants of protection sworn against by him by his former girlfriend, a nurse.
"The unfortunate events yesterday in Orlando, Florida once again highlight the need for private sector companies to evaluate their current all hazards' evacuation planning, to include the highly improbable, but possible, active shooter or workplace violence incident at their location," said Rob Haley, a former FBI terrorism investigator who now heads Veritas Security Solutions, LLC.
Haley said the disturbing reality is that in most caess employees had a suspicion of danger but did not act on it. No Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was in place to collect employee concerns, and a company Emergency Response Plan was also lacking.
About 500 American workers are murdered on the job every year, according to OSHA statistics, and the frequency of violence is increasing.
The bottom line is that employees deserve to feel safe while at work. Under federal law, OSHA requires it, labeling it a company’s responsibility and obligation to provide a safe workplace environment for their employees. In all fifty states, Worker’s Compensation regulations also cover the protection of employees in the workplace," he said.
The pattern of workplace violence often includes a disgruntled former employee or former romantic partner of an employee, mental instability and affinity for firearms. While no cases are alike, safety training includes awareness of violence risk factors and freedom to speak up to superiors when worried about threats to co-workers.
Haley includes preparation, emergency planning and how to respond to the threat of violence in his upcoming training, "Active Shooter: Workplace Preparedness Plan" which will be presented live on June 22.