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    Preventing Workplace Fatalities

    Be Prepared With a Plan

    Unfortunately, many organizations feel ill-equipped to prevent a workplace violence
    event. All too often, the incentive for implementing a prevention plan comes in
    response to tragedy.

    OSHA believes a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program,
    combined with hazard controls and employee training, can reduce the incidence of
    workplace violence.

    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

    Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law
    enforcement arrive on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and
    physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

    Responding to an active shooter situation

    Active shooters can appear in easily accessed public spaces or in workplaces – both
    private and public-facing. No matter where you are, remain as calm as possible and

    o Be aware of any possible danger in your environment
    o Identify the two nearest exits
    o If you can flee, do so immediately – leave belongings behind
    o If you cannot flee, find a potential hiding place with cover (that will stop a bullet)
    and concealment (the assailant cannot see you there)
    o If you are behind a door, lock, or block entry to it
    o Silence electronic devices
    o If able, turn off all lights and cover windows. As a last resort, try to incapacitate
    the shooter – keep moving and be distracting
    o In close range situations, fighting increases your chance of survival – work with
    others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons (e.g., fire extinguishers,
    books, chairs, etc.)
    o Know your emergency notification methods and numbers
    o Call or text 911 as soon as you can do so safely

    How to respond when law enforcement arrives

    Law enforcement will usually be required to end the situation. Comply with law
    enforcement and allow them to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

    There are several ways you can assist:

    o To the best of your ability, be prepared to provide 911 and law enforcement with
    your location, the number of shooters, physical description of the shooter(s), the
    number and type of weapons used by the shooter(s) and the number of potential

    o When law enforcement arrives, remain calm and follow all instructions – in the
    absence of other instructions keep your hands raised, visible and free of any

    o Don’t scream or yell

    o Evacuate the area quickly – do not stop law enforcement to ask questions or for

    Facing an active shooter can be unimaginable, but being prepared might save your life.
    Remember to stay alert and as calm as possible. Try to run first, hide if you cannot flee
    safely and fight only when you have no other choice.

    Training for an active shooter situation

    Every organization needs to address workplace violence. Managers and safety
    professionals at every workplace should develop a policy on violence that includes:

    o Employee training and creating an emergency action plan

    o Conducting mock training exercises with local law enforcement

    o Adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence

    Training exercises will prepare staff to effectively respond and help minimize loss of life

    o Learning emergency escape procedures and route assignments, (i.e., floor plans,
    safe areas)

    o Receiving contact information for, and responsibilities of individuals to be
    contacted during an active shooter incident

    o Receiving information concerning local area hospitals (i.e., name, telephone
    number, and distance from your location)

    o Understanding the emergency notification system to alert various parties of an
    emergency including:
    o Individuals at remote locations within premises
    o Local law enforcement
    o Local area hospitals

    o Recognizing the sound of gunshots

    o Reacting quickly when gunshots are heard and/or when a shooting is witnessed:
    o Evacuating the area
    o Hiding out
    o Acting against the shooter as a last resort

    o Calling 911

    o Reacting when law enforcement arrives

    o Adopting the survival mind set during times of crisis

    Preparing for the worst can be difficult. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a
    situation with an active shooter – they can be unpredictable and unfold quickly. Because
    an active shooter behaves erratically, they have no pattern and their victims are random
    – being prepared can be your best defense.


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