Protecting the Workplace – Security on America’s Mind

The Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. is the topic of the day. Workplace security is the chatter in break rooms and elevators across the country.

How secure is the workplace in America – from “Mom and Pop” store fronts to mega cubicle office buildings? How secure do employees feel at their jobs? Does every person on a job site belong there?

During any time of day in any given place of business, both private and public, security breaches are attempted and do occur. Technological, informational, or monetary theft may occur.

Extreme, traumatizing, fatal violence can also be a consequence.

Controlling access with keypads or swipe cards, which provide detailed reports of who enters or exits a facility, is one very common tool to prevent unauthorized entrance. Manpower and metal detectors are also commonly used.

Good manners taught since childhood can break a hole in that all-important security shield.

Kindly holding access controlled doors on busy mornings for a well-dressed “co-worker” swiftly entering from behind with a friendly greeting and a smile may be an invitation for danger. Casually “buzzing in” the uniformed maintenance worker politely requesting entrance might compromise the safety of thousands.

Yesterday’s events in our nation’s capital is a heart hardening lesson.

The necessity of consistently following security protocol, even if uncomfortably uncivilized for some, is apparent. After grave, deadly situations similar to the Navy Yard shooting, compliance, because of fear, becomes excellent. The goal of the employer is not to let the high standards observed today deteriorate in the coming weeks and months.

As crime scenes are cleaned and daily routines return to normal, will a sense of complacency settle upon the American worker? Will employers look the other way at propped doors and broken locks?

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, facility management plays a key role in instituting workplace access controls and training employees to be responsible, proficient users. Instilling pride and a sense of responsibility for the welfare of co-workers adds to the cohesiveness of a well-run plan.

What is the price tag for safety in the workplace?

The availability of funds to acquire and maintain security devices and the trained, professional manpower needed to competently maintain these acquisitions has become a challenge for both private and government employers. Grants and donation sources for the private sector are becoming scarce, deep cuts in federal funding has impacted even the United States military.

An apparent breach of security factored into the events at the Washington Navy Yard yesterday. The security and safety of workplaces across the United States will be scrutinized for breaches and flaws. A safer day on the job will be the goal.

Written By: Jennifer Knickman

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