If you’re like most people, you occasionally think about your personal safety when you’re in your home or out alone, especially at night. However, it’s not likely that you think about safety in your office or workplace much at all. In an office environment, you as an employee are vulnerable to attack, whether from outsiders, from former employees, or from disgruntled customers and clients.
Though the kind of office violence recently making headlines involves former employees or customers who return with guns, this is far from the typical office violence situation. The typical types of office dangers, which you should take steps to protect yourself from, include theft, verbal exchanges, and sexual harassment. Of course, physical violence is still possible; you are not safe from this type of attack even if your office seems relatively secure.
You may already be aware of some specific dangers facing your industry. Though no industry is completely safe from violence, some industries seem more susceptible than others. No matter your industry, good customer service policies are a crucial way to prevent altercations, potentially violent, with unhappy customers or clients.
When it comes to personal safety in the office, communicating with your coworkers is essential. Your collective personal safety should be protected by a plan of action for nearly any type of emergency, from natural disasters to break-ins. Consider developing code words so that you can tip off coworkers that something is amiss without also tipping off a potential attacker. Always lock your office door when you’re not there, even if neighboring offices are occupied. Don’t forget to shut down your computer and password protect your account in order to prevent unauthorized use.
Particularly in retail establishments, real or dummy security cameras can do a lot to prevent thefts and violence. In any area open to clients or other visitors, you should have visible cameras and signs alerting visitors to the presence of a security system. Around the office, hidden personal alarms give staff members a way to quickly alert others to a dangerous situation. These alarms sound a loud tone that will easily be heard from several rooms away, and can be concealed in desk drawers or other locations.
Another essential personal security device to have in the office is pepper spray. A few types of pepper spray are even disguised, for example as pens or keychains, to allow you to easily hide them in plain sight. Pepper spray is a great way to empower employees to take action and protect their safety.
No matter which devices are kept to protect employees in your workplace, everyone should be trained not only in their use, but also when it would be considered appropriate to use them. This may not always be as obvious as you’d think. What are the appropriate actions if someone comes in yelling? Should employees try to stop thieves? What should be done after pepper spray or personal alarms are used? These policies should be outlined in advance so that everyone knows what to do in the case of workplace violence or other dangerous situations. If you are an employee and you don’t know what to do in some of these situations, now is the time to find your answers. Don’t wait until an altercation arises to figure out what you should do.
Criminal or violent activities can take place at any time and anywhere, including your office, other commercial establishments, in your home, or outdoors. Keep your personal safety in mind wherever you are so that you can be prepared for these possibilities. For example, a canister of pepper spray allows you to fight back against an attacker, no matter where the attack is happening.
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