Preventing Violence In The Workplace

6:00 PM, Sep 18, 2013   |    comments
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All it takes is something like a key card to gain access inside most businesses. And, there are a number of people coming and going from your workplace on a daily basis.

Do you really know who you're letting into your office? 

Aaron Alexis, the man accused of killing 12 people at a Navy Yard, had security clearance. 

Read More | Navy Allowed Felons On Bases 

Today we're finding out Rhode Island police alerted the U.S. Navy about his mental problems last month. Alexis called them and said "he was hearing voices" and was being stalked. 

The police turned over their report to Naval officials to investigate, but Alexis kept his security clearance and started doing IT work at the Navy Yard in Washington last month.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says workplace place violence is the second leading cause of death in the workplace. In cases like the Navy Yard shooting, we often wonder what employers could have done to prevent the situation. 

We talked to the HR Group in Greensboro to find out about your employer's obligation to protect you.

"It's important for employees to understand that the employer is expected to, and it's required by OSHA regulations, to provide security and to keep them safe," said Graham Dail, senior consultant with the HR Group, Inc. 

Gates and key cards are just some of the precautions HR professionals say employers should consider for office security. And, before you take that next job, there are a few questions you should ask your employer about office safety.

1. Ask about the company's workplace violence policy. It should include everything from well lit parking lots to counseling services.

2. See if the employer allows guns on the premises. Employees can carry weapons in some cases, but the employer does have the right to prohibit them in the office. 

3. Be sure to find out whether the employer provides security, and if so, find out what kind. 

Dail says these things are all necessary to make the work environment safe and comfortable.

"Employees need to feel like they're safe, feel like they're protected," said Dail. "And, if they don't feel that way, then you lose productivity, and people get upset, and you have office chaos."

For more information on office safety and your protection rights at work, visit Occupational Safety and Health Administration's website. 

WFMY News 2

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