By Brooke Chaplan

Unfortunately, there are very few aspects of modern society that are not affected by crime and violence. This includes the workplace. Crime and violence can affect even the most secure workplaces. For example, in early October 2013 a gunman fired shots close to the White House, which is arguably the most secure workplace on the planet.

While there is nothing you can do to completely remove all threats to employee safety, be it from an act of violence, act of terror, or a natural disaster, there are a few steps all employers can take to minimize the effect these events could have as well as prepare their employees to respond to safety threats.

Accept the Reality
The very first step in creating a good plan for employee safety is for employers to accept the reality that a crime could happen. Perpetrators could be someone who an employee or employer knows, or even a complete stranger. Once an employer accepts the possibility of a threat to employee safety, they can take steps to protect them and come up with a plan or procedure for worst case scenarios.

Teach Employees to Be Aware
The element of surprise is a criminal’s best friend. Employees should be taught to play close attention to their surroundings, identify suspicious behavior, and to be bold enough to challenge suspicious behavior when they see it. Employees should be trained to be polite yet assertive when they see someone acting in a strange or unusual manner. There are many ways to train employees and make them better able to respond to emergencies.

Consult Law Enforcement
Most law enforcement agencies have suggestions and even courses they can teach to private companies on how to improve employee security. Security experts and law enforcement officials have a unique perspective that most business owners don’t when it comes to security and crime. In fact, many of the recommendations they make may seem counter-intuitive, but as experts, they know what will work best.

Develop a Plan
Every employee should have a clear plan in their mind if a crisis arises, and should know how to react if a violent person enters their place of work. Have a plan for where to go if there is a natural disaster, and make sure it is written down and given to employees once hired. It is good to review this plan with your business’s lawyers as well as with a personal injury lawyer to make sure there are no legal or liability issues with your plan. Check here to see other information on avoiding injury.

Of course, a good plan means nothing if employees cannot implement it. Two or three times a year, have drills where employees can practice what to do and where to go during emergencies. Taking these simple steps can go a long way in protecting your employees and other assets.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.