Monday, November 9, 2009

How Safe Is Your Office?

On Saturday, the front page of our local newspaper contained not only the news of the tragic shooting in Texas, but another shooting in an office in Orlando, Florida. While the investigation in Texas is ongoing, the Florida incident stemmed from the shooter being fired by his employer two years ago. My first thought was sadness for the lives cut short and sympathy for the loved ones they left behind. After those thoughts came the question about the safety of our own offices.

Most of you reading this blog are involved in some type of international compliance and likely work for a C-TPAT compliant company, so your offices must be secure, right? According to your procedures, your company states that they may search vehicles and requires all visitors to sign in, but are these procedures followed? Several years ago disgruntled employee shot his supervisor at a company where I worked and the company had excellent security policies. Could an angry ex-employee gain access to your facilities? Now, I’m not suggesting that every business install metal detectors to screen for guns and knives, but I am suggesting that we might take a closer look to see if we are practicing what our procedures say we are. If we don’t have procedures in place yet, then it’s time to implement them. Along the same lines, does your company have any procedures for identifying employees who may pose a danger to others? Again, I’m not suggesting that we sit around and scrutinize our co-workers. Hey, we all have some little quirks, but what is the policy for handling someone who demonstrates an unusual temper or shows signs of substance abuse?

Spend some time reviewing your current procedures. Even better, try testing them. Send an unknown person into your facilities and see how far they get before being stopped by an employee. Ask random employees how they would handle an employee suspected of substance abuse or who showed violent behaviors. Review the results, analyze the risk potential for incidents of violence in your workplace and modify or create procedures as necessary. Not only will these precautions protect your company’s most important assets, the employees, but they will improve your C-TPAT compliance!

Note: We will return with our weekly study of the HTS next Monday.

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