DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Workplace Violence Awareness Month is observed in April. Experts across the Miami Valley say incidents are more likely to occur in places without policies in place so they encourage all businesses to take a proactive approach to preventing violence in the workplace.
“It’s really what to do to prevent it and what do you do if it happens,” said Jane Keiffer, the Executive Director for the Artemis Center.
Every year millions of American workers report having been victims of workplace violence, and it can happen anywhere. Experts said it’s important to train staff members to recognize a threat, respond to a threat, and survive a threat.
“Does the perpetrator show up with a weapon, or are they just there? Do they have a protection order against them, or are they trespassing? So it really depends on the situation, but the first thing we always say is call 9-1-1 to make sure safety is increased with the police,” Keiffer said.
Holly Allen, the director of marketing and communications for The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce said it’s important to make sure you have a crisis communication plan. “What is the point person employee? Who is the person that will contact employees, and do you have a list to contact them on their personal cell phones if they don’t have a work cell phone? What is their emergency contact? Do you have a list that you can grab and go if you needed to leave quickly?”
She said the Chamber of Commerce trains its employees frequently, and explained why every business should update those practices often. “Things change. You probably want to take another look at that especially because a lot of businesses have changed their work environments. Some people are working from home. People are working from different areas in the office space because you’re trying to distance people,” she said.
If your workplace does not have a plan in place, you can contact your local law enforcement agency to develop one.