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Are you Prepared for an Active Shooter Situation?

We aren’t trained to prevent workplace violence in our own organizations

Published: Monday, September 16, 2019 - 12:03

Workplace safety is a complex issue, addressing everything from rules for operating heavy machinery to guidelines for respecting your fellow employees. For many of these issues we, as a business community, have developed and applied a variety of best practices and global standards—such as ISO 45001—to help establish and preserve a safe and healthy working environment for everyone.

The U.S. Dept. of Labor estimates that two million employees are victims of workplace violence annually, resulting in a loss of 1.2 million workdays and an estimated $55 million in lost wages.  The long-term costs to business continuity and the human capital that supports it are almost staggering. 

As a society, we work toward the prevention of accidents that result in personal injuries; we have policies about professional behavior and decorum, and plans to deal with emergencies by natural causes such as fires, floods, and electrical outages. What we must now develop are the operational plans and policies to deal with targeted violence such as active shooter events. 

Active shooter incidents are increasing in both frequency and lethality, with the most recent having occurred in Texas and Ohio. In the past, such events were considered something that happened rarely, in some isolated area. That assumption has been replaced by the awareness that this type of event can happen where we work, learn, serve, worship, and even seek recreation, and we must be prepared. While experts search through the myriad causes of mass shootings, the everyday working person is left to confront what seems to be a rising risk of more horrible events.

Are we prepared as organizations? Are you prepared as an individual? Let’s be honest: The answer is probably no. Although most of us are aware of the shocking headlines, we are just not trained to prevent or minimize such tragedies in our own workplaces.

However, we can be. There are ways to be prepared as part of a comprehensive workplace safety program.

DNV GL Business Assurance has launched a strategic alliance with Kiernan Group Holdings (KGH), and together we will be providing a new suite of services to help organizations prepare for, respond to, and recover from an active shooter event, should one occur. The KGH team has recognized expertise in educating organizations across the public and private sectors, and in providing a common-sense approach that transcends the working environment. With earned experience in law enforcement, homeland and national security, these dedicated individuals are absolutely without peer in this arena.

In our upcoming free webinar, we will examine a case study of the Navy Yard shooting, which occurred on Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. This case example was selected for two reasons: The first is to make the compelling point that these incidents can occur anywhere, at any time, to anyone, even in a location which by its very nature and design is presumed to be a safe environment. The second reason, perhaps more compelling, is that one of the speakers was the initial Metropolitan Police Department command official onsite and led the first entry team into the facility.

Aligning KGH’s specialized skills with DNV’s operational scale and our experience as a certification body, we can help organizations of all sizes raise their awareness and their preparedness for responding to an active shooter event. We will identify a pathway to preparedness through a discussion on lessons learned and the identification of best practices based on real-world events. Some of what we will cover include:
• How preparedness of employees can make a difference during the minutes an active shooter event takes place
• What happens during an event. What can people do under the “run, hide, fight” protocol to minimize casualties?
• Review of company protocols in place to help prevent occurrence of an active shooter event in the first place

Going forward, we may even see new standards emerge. For now, we’ll rely on the institutionalized knowledge of those who have been on the frontlines, combined with the proven mechanisms of risk assessment, root cause analysis, organizational dynamics, and comprehensive training.

It is our deepest hope that organizations that embrace these new lessons will never have to use them. The only good tragedy is one that doesn’t happen. That said, we are now fully committed to filling the void for active shooter training and other demands of creating safe workspaces.

To learn more, join me, Bruno Samuel, executive director of sales and marketing at DNV GL Business Assurance, North America; Kathleen Kiernan, founder and CEO of Kiernan Group Holdings; Michael Wear, program manager and senior training specialist at Kiernan Group Holdings; and Quality Digest editor in chief Dirk Dusharme on Tues., Sept. 24, 2019, at 1 p.m. Central/11 a.m. Pacific for the webinar, “Workplace Violence: A Case Study in Preparedness?” Click here to register.


About The Author

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DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. It provides classification, technical assurance, software, and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil and gas, and energy industries. It also provides certification services to customers across a wide range of industries. Combining leading technical and operational expertise, risk methodology, and in-depth industry knowledge, it empowers its customers’ decisions and actions with trust and confidence. It continuously invests in research and collaborative innovation to provide customers and society with operational and technological foresight. Operating in more than 100 countries, its professionals are dedicated to helping customers make the world safer, smarter, and greener.