Organizations faced a broad range of security challenges in 2022, from the rise of active and mass shooter incidents to continued concerns surrounding Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). These realities serve as important context for security professionals as we anticipate the threat spectrum for the year ahead. How can lessons of the past guide and help inform decision making and readiness? In this three-part blog series, we will examine three of today’s primary threats and highlight important considerations and solutions for preparedness.
In speaking with thought leaders across MSA Security® and Allied Universal®, workplace violence emerged as a leading concern. Members of Allied Universal’s Risk Advisory and Consulting Services Division share their top takeaways for preventing and mitigating a potential workplace violence incident.
Lesson One: Preparedness is Rooted in Communication
Art F. Fierro, CISM, CPP, Vice President, Global Investigation Practice
While many large to mid-sized companies have sophisticated internal threat assessment teams, critical gaps often exist surrounding the communication and training within an organization. Employees at every level need to know how to be ambassadors of a company’s violence prevention program. We’ve all heard “see something, say something” but it is important to educate employees on the why and how of that mantra. It should be made clear to employees that reporting a colleague’s potential red flag behavior to management will be confidential and, most importantly, aid in facilitating any necessary and appropriate employee assistance.
Lesson Two: Utilize Intelligence for Preemptive Vetting
Sean Schuhriemen, Director of Intelligence Practice
Experienced analysts can monitor and analyze a broad range of social media data sources and millions of URLs in the index web to collect and evaluate data essential to the recruitment and vetting of employees. These integrity checks go a long way in providing an organization’s decision makers with the intelligence needed for more informed hiring. This intel should always be customized to the unique culture, priorities and objectives of an organization. As such, it serves as a first line of defense within a well-rounded and comprehensive security program directed at combatting workplace violence.
Lesson Three: Avoid the Ostrich Approach
Henry Miller, Risk Consultant, Security Consulting Practice
Too often, there is a hesitancy within organizations to effectively address the issue of workplace violence. The reasons are many and can include inexperience, liability concern, and an unwillingness to disrupt company culture or sacrifice operational productivity. This is a misstep that fails to recognize the value of preparedness from the top down within an organization. Additionally, under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, all employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm." Achieving this requires a thorough approach to evaluating security controls, employee policies and enforcement, and the overall readiness plan. Organizations must then actively engage all members of the organization in the training required in response to those findings.
Lesson 4: Ask for Assistance
Craig Matsumoto, Senior Vice President, Risk Advisory and Consulting Services
Organizations of every size are requesting assistance more frequently in response to the rising threat environment. There is value in partnering with a trusted expert to provide a fresh-eye assessment to develop, update, improve and even test an existing security plan. By seeking straightforward information on risk and consequence, prevention measures and mitigation strategies, an organization can adopt meaningful recommendations that lead to greater readiness.
Stay tuned for our next blog in this series focusing on the top three threats to watch in 2023. To never miss timely content from MSA’s subject matter experts, be sure to subscribe to our blog.