Do your employees feel safe at work? While most workers say they feel generally safe, that sentiment comes coupled with some serious concerns, a CareerBuilder survey found. Ninety-four percent of employees say they feel their office is a safe place to work, but when asked if their workplace is protected from a physical threat by another person, 30 percent said no. Twenty-three percent said they did not know what to do if their office faced a physical threat. Anxieties over physical security can be exceptionally high for employees who work night shifts and must travel to and from the office in the dark. Here are four steps you can take to make employees who work night shifts and long hours feel safe on the job.
Security starts with safe parking. Make sure your parking area is highly visible, well-lit, and free of obstructions such as high shrubs where criminals can hide. Install motion sensors and alarms and surveillance cameras along with visibly-posted signs to discourage burglars. Having an on-site security guard posted can further increase parking security. Encourage employees to arrive at work in pairs and set up a buddy system.
Visibility is also key to security within your building. Windows that make your interior highly visible from the street deny concealment and make breaking in a riskier proposition. Use motion-activated lights and camera surveillance to limit opportunities for concealment in places such as reception areas, stairwells, elevators, restrooms, and mail rooms.
Locks and barriers are also essential. Filter all visitors to your workplace through a single entry point. Make sure all doors have a strong design with sheet steel, deadbolts and solid hinges, and make sure all windows are secure. Management should be able to account for all keys, including electronic keys. Provide a secure vault where employees have the option of storing valuables during work hours.
These are just a few basic measures you should take. The National Crime Prevention Council provides a detailed checklist of other steps employers and workers can take to make the workplace safer.
You may have a great security system in place, but your employees won’t sense workforce safety or feel safe unless they’re aware of the steps you’ve taken to protect them, so it’s important to make sure your workers are trained in your security policies and procedures. Your employee orientation process should include basic training in company security policies.
Let your employees know what security practices you’ve implemented. Train your workers in safe procedures for using your parking lot and entering and exiting your building at night. Teach them where on your premises criminals are most likely to hide, how to avoid high-risk situations, and where to report suspicious activity. Make sure employees know how to evacuate the building safely in the event of emergencies such as fires.
Harassment and bullying can make workers feel unsafe and can escalate into workplace violence, so it’s important to take steps to discourage these activities. Develop a written policy statement against harassment and bullying as well as procedures for workers and supervisors to respond to incidents. Make sure employees know what constitutes harassment and bullying and who to report to if they experience an incident. The American Bar Association provides a sample template you can use for developing your company’s anti-bullying policy.
Workers should also know how to respond to workplace violence. Instruct workers and supervisors how to contact security assistance, and post security contact information where it will be readily available. For the worst-case scenario of a shooter on the work premises, the Department of Homeland Security provides resources, including training programs and a poster that sums up how to respond to an active shooter in the vicinity. DHS advises that workers in the vicinity of active shooters should first attempt to run, then take cover out of the shooter’s line of sight, and finally, if there is no other alternative, fight back and attempt to disarm the assailant. Make sure your employees know these procedures and how to exit the building in event of emergency.