In terms of reopening the economy and getting back to some semblance of normalcy, 2021 might be the year we hoped for. As much of a relief as that is, unfortunately, there are no signs that the civil unrest we saw in 2020 will dissipate in 2021.
The protests and riots in 140 U.S. cities in 2020 resulted in over $1 billion in damages and set an insurance record. The final number could be up to $2 billion.
Some say that now that a new administration is in place, tensions will settle, but the recent U.S. capital riot and Portland, Oregon riot show lasting property damage. Companies need to better monitor and manage risks, particularly as physical threats have risen over the past year.
Now more than ever, businesses need to be aware of how to navigate civil unrest and protect their business. Let’s take a closer look at active shooter response and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s role in mitigating workplace violence.
Active shooter training trend
Over 16,000 Americans are victims of workplace violence every year in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite the evident and growing threat, most active workers never get training on what to do if a person with a gun enters their workspace. However, that is changing in California, as Cal OSHA has begun requiring California hospitals and health care sites to develop evacuation and sheltering plans in response to active shooters.
OSHA on workplace violence training
Although OSHA does not have specific guidelines for active shooter training courses, they recognize the importance of preparing employees for these incidents. The court system and OSHA hold employers responsible for preventing workplace violence under the General Duty Clause.
Environment, health, and safety (EHS) managers play a key role in ensuring that their company has taken steps to reduce the odds of violence in the workplace. If OSHA cites a business for a workplace violence incident, in most cases, the employer is required to develop a comprehensive workplace violence program that includes:
- A plan that details most likely risks
- Worksite analysis that accesses the facility’s strengths and weaknesses
- Hazard prevention control
- Safety and health training with procedures to follow during acts of workplace violence
- Practice drills
- Program evaluations
As companies start to reopen in 2021, safety will be the number one priority. Active shooter insurance will be a priority as will workplace violence training.
McGowan Program Administrators Active Shooter / Workplace Violence Insurance considers all classes of business, including government agencies, education, religious institutions, hospitality, entertainment, retail, public entities, and more.