Would You Know What to Do in a Workplace Violence Situation?

CCEDC’s MaryFrances McGarrity coordinated the Safety in the Workplace Event which featured John Kirk of Exelon, Michael Vining of The Protection Bureau, and Chief Gerald R. Simpson of the Southern Chester County Regional Police.

On Friday morning, three area security experts addressed the issue of workplace safety to a group assembled at the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC). 

The panel included Chief Gerald R. Simpson of the Southern Chester County Regional Police; Michael Vining, Senior Security Consultant at The Protection Bureau; and John Kirk, a former FBI agent who handles corporate security for Exelon Corporation.

In an effort to dispel some stereotypes or misconceptions, Vining noted that workplace violence typically falls into four broad categories: 

  1. Violent acts by criminals who have no other connection with the workplace, but enter to commit robbery or another crime
  2. Violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or any others for whom an organization provides services.
  3. Violence against coworkers, supervisors, or managers by a present or former employee.
  4. Violence committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there, but has a personal relationship with an employee – an abusive spouse or domestic partner

Vining went on to state that the threat of workplace violence could be addressed through changes to the physical environment which limit the public’s access to private work areas.  Additionally, he noted that systems that “make it easy for employees to signal for help” such as panic buttons are recommended.

Kirk stressed that workplace culture can play a key role.  An organization can implement measures such as having a code of conduct for acceptable work behaviors; educating employees about signs that indicate someone may be a threat; implementing a reporting protocol; along with holding regular safety and training drills.

In the unfortunate event the one is involved in an active threat situation, Simpson outlined a variety of factors that can impact law enforcement’s response.

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