Resources - Security

Guidelines for Workplace Security

Workplace safety and health hazards affecting employees have traditionally been viewed as arising from unsafe work practices, hazardous industrial conditions, or exposures to harmful chemical, biologic or physical agents, not from violent acts committed by other human beings. Recently, though, employees, as well as supervisors and managers, have become all too frequent victims of assaults or other violent acts in the workplace which entail a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm. Many of these assaults result in fatal injury, but an even greater number result in nonfatal injury, or in the threat of injury, which can lead to medical treatment, missed work, lost wages and decreased productivity.

A single explanation for the increase in workplace violence is not readily available. Some episodes of workplace violence, like robberies of small retail establishments, seem related to the larger societal problems of crime and substance abuse. Other episodes seem to arise more specifically from employment-related problems.

What can be done to prevent workplace violence? Any preventive measure must be based on a thorough understanding of the risk factors associated with the various types of workplace violence. And, even though our understanding of the factors which lead to workplace violence is not perfect, sufficient information is available which, if utilized effectively, can reduce the risk of workplace violence. However, strong management commitment, and the day-to-day involvement of managers, supervisors, employees and labor unions, is required to reduce the risk of workplace violence.

Even though many of the causes of workplace violence have their origin outside the workplace, and even though there are gaps in our fund of knowledge about how to prevent the occurrence of some types of workplace assaults, enough is currently known about the problem for us to make a start.

As the statistics in these Guidelines indicate, workplace violence has become a serious occupational health problem whose solution will require all of our efforts. The problem cannot be solved by government alone.

Cal/OSHA invites employers, labor unions, employees, occupational health and safety professionals, the public health community, other government agencies and security professionals to continue to work with us in developing and promoting strategies to prevent workplace violence.


Pre-Event Measures

  • Make your store unattractive to robbers by:
    • Removing clutter, obstructions and signs from the windows so that an unobstructed view of the store counter and/or cash register exists.
    • Keeping the store and parking lot as brightly lit as local law allows.
    • Keep an eye on what is going on outside the store and report any suspicious persons or activities to the police.
    • When there are no customers in the store, keep yourself busy with other tasks away from the cash register.
    • Post emergency police and fire department numbers and the store's address by the phone.
    • Mount mirrors on the ceiling to help you keep an eye on hidden corners of the store. Consider surveillance cameras to record what goes on in the store and to act as a deterrent.
    • Post signs which are easy to spot from the outside of the store that inform customers that you have a limited amount of cash on hand.
    • Limit accessible cash to a small amount and keep only small bills in the cash register.
    • Use a time access safe for larger bills and deposit them as they are received.
    • Use only one register after dark and leave unused registers open with empty cash drawers tilted up for all to see.
    • Let your customers know that you only keep a small amount of cash on hand.
  • Event Measures
    • If you are robbed at gunpoint, stay calm and speak to the robber in a cooperative tone. Do not argue or fight with the robber and offer no resistance whatsoever. Hand over the money.
    • Never ever pull a weapon during the event--it will only increase your chances of getting hurt.
    • Always move slowly and explain each move to the robber before you make them.
    • Post-Event Measures
    • Make no attempt to follow or chase the robber.
    • Stay where you are until you are certain the robber has left the immediate area, then lock the door of your store and call the police immediately.
    • Do not touch anything robber has handled.
    • Write down everything you remember about the robber and the robbery while you wait for the police to arrive.
    • Do not open the door of the store until the police arrive.

Source: Cal OSHA

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Copyright ©2000-2019 Geigle Safety Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Federal copyright prohibits unauthorized reproduction by any means without permission. Disclaimer: This material is for training purposes only to inform the reader of occupational safety and health best practices and general compliance requirement and is not a substitute for provisions of the OSH Act of 1970 or any governmental regulatory agency. CertiSafety is a division of Geigle Safety Group, Inc., and is not connected or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).