At the National Safety Council Labor Division’s 2015 Spring Meeting one of the topics of interest was workplace violence and the active shooter. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, violence is the leading cause of death on the job. In the U.S. over 18,000 workplace assaults have caused 500,000 employees to lose 1.7 work days annually with a loss of 55 million in wages. 18% of all violent crimes happen in the workplace at a cost of $3 billion to $5 billion annually. While robbery is still the leading cause of violent death and injury in the workplace, active shooter events are steadily on the rise. The Department of Homeland Security has issued the following information and recommendations:
Profile of an Active Shooter
An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
Good Practices for Coping with an Active Shooter Situation
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
- If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
- If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
- As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down.
- When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.
- By talking about this subject, and having a plan at your place of work, you and your co-workers can be better prepared.
–Dan Boschee, IBEW 1245 Health and Safety Committee