By Frantz Belot, Ph.D.

Video-based microlearning is the answer

Editor’s note: We are saddened by the senseless violence that took place this week. This post was scheduled prior to these events and we still feel it is important to share.

Imagine, two-thirds of your staff feel coming to work is a dangerous proposition. Unfortunately, they have reason to be afraid. Nearly a quarter of workers across the globe “have endured workplace violence” and 94% of American workers said they have been bullied at work according to recent surveys.

Equally alarming is that 45% of workers claim they do not know the violence and safety protocols in their organization. These are troubling figures, especially with workplace violence now the second most common cause of workplace fatalities.

No employee does their best work when they’re scared. If the workplace becomes an environment where team members feel on edge or in constant fear for their safety, how will you, as their employer, expect them to show up putting their best foot forward? Suffice it to say, it isn’t the setup a business wants for its team. Feeling unsafe at work is a real struggle for many— but by providing your employees with resources that encourage safety, knowledge, preparedness, and company support, you can quickly eliminate that concern.

A Starbucks in Los Angeles can attest. One day a man walked into their cafe carrying a large brown grocery bag, and at first, no one thought anything of it.

After ordering his drink (a simple water), he set down a lighter on the counter and seemed to forget it as he walked over to the waiting area of the establishment to await his refreshment. Within moments, the employees noticed something was up. Taking a container of gasoline out of his bag, the man began pouring the contents all over himself and feverishly patting down his pockets, searching for his lighter. Thinking on their feet, the Barista snatched the lighter the man had accidentally left at the counter and immediately called the police. Thanks to their calm, collected, and informed actions during this frightening situation, no one in the cafe was harmed.

Despite the scary situation, the employees at this coffee shop handled it to the best of their ability, thanks to quick thinking and extensive safety prevention training. By remaining calm under pressure and contacting the police, as well as not taking steps that escalated things, the employees kept themselves and their customers from harm.

What to do in an Escalating Danger Situation

Sometimes, the dangerous situations presenting themselves to your business are immediate and life-threatening. As hard of a pill as it is to swallow, safety risk factors like fires, sexual harassment, and active shooters are real. Preparing yourself and your team is key to keeping everyone safe, whatever may happen.

In the event of sexual harassment or assault, ALWAYS put your employees and customers first. If a patron is harassing a worker, they should be removed from the premises immediately and without a second thought. If we allow predatory behavior to continue unchecked, it may escalate, putting your workers in harm’s way. Regarding workplace harassment, it is always better to be safe than sorry. There is nuance in all situations, of course, and that’s why it should be handled delicately and with care for your worker’s comfort levels. Warning signs of sexual assault can also be caught early, such as a customer commenting on an employee’s physical body, flirting inappropriately, and making unwanted physical contact. Part of your human resources training programs for your employees should cover these red flags, so they don’t get the chance to transform into something worse. Safety training videos on sexual assault should be found in all workplace violence prevention training.

Keys To Remember

  • Put your employees and customers first
  • Be on the lookout for warning signs of predatory behavior
  • Watch safety training videos on sexual harassment and assault

In the event of a robbery, it’s imperative to follow their instructions without hesitation. Money is less valuable than the physical well-being of your staff. If the robber asks for cash, the best action is to give it to them while someone else secretly calls the police. Robberies don’t always derail into violent incidents; in many cases, proper employee training can help to avoid escalation.

Keys To Remember

  • Do not aggravate the aggressor. Follow their demands within reason
  • Call the Police if possible
  • Avoid Escalation by staying calm

In the event of an active shooting, there are different protocols in place. If possible, immediately leave the premises. If there’s a backdoor, use it, and get as many people out as possible. Be sure to have a game plan, an escape route in mind, and an emergency meeting place in case of an evacuation. Leave your belongings behind— they aren’t worth the loss of life or injury. If you can, help other people in escaping the building. If you cannot leave the area, you should look for a hiding spot less likely to be discovered by the active shooter. Find a place that will shield you if shots are fired in your direction (such as an office with a closed door), and above all, remain calm.

As soon as the opportunity presents itself, immediately call 911 to inform the authorities of your location. If you cannot communicate verbally, keep the line open, and the dispatcher will listen in, and help will shortly be on the way.

Keys To Remember

  • If possible, evacuate to a pre-determined safe location
  • Leave all belongings behind
  • If evacuation is not possible, hide
  • Remain calm and contact law enforcement

Everyday Safety Mindset- Preventing Workplace Violence

Dangerous situations are all around us and can come from outside the workplace, or they can be internal. Each should be handled with the same level of nuance and care. At Tyfoom, we believe that proper training can not only prevent issues from arising, but help all employees feel safer when they do.

Providing proper safety management and education for your team sets them up for success, leaving them with the knowledge that at your workplace, their well-being is a critical priority.

Another critical action organizations should take is to alert employees who are not at the affected worksite and warn them to stay away when significant issues arise such as a fire or active shooter. When it is safe to do so, send a trackable message to your employees to ensure they have read the alert. Make sure such a message shares any information or potential danger they should be aware of and

If safety training and preparation is something you value for your team, we urge you to make plans now and training your employees so they know exactly what to do.

Contact us today to take active steps to keep your team safe—and informed—at work.