Occupational Security and Safety

A majority of employers have instituted new security arrangements since 2001. Figure below illustrates steps employers took to upgrade safety and security after the Trade center attacks.

Initiatives Percent of employers
Safety and Security

Personal protective equipment 46%
New/more stringent building entry procedures 43
Restricted access to some areas 19
Closed entrances /areas 17
New / additional security personnel 12
Extended work hours for security personnel 10
New security (e.g. metal detectors) 10
New / more stringent applicant screening 7
Physical barriers to building entry 5

Emergency Planning and Disaster recovery

Review emergency / disaster recovery plan(s) 46
Revise emergency / disaster recovery plan(s) 32
New/ revised evacuation drills 23
Form committee or task force to address
Emergency planning / disaster recovery 15
Develop emergency /disaster recovery plan(s) 14
Develop/ revise procedures for data backup 14
Develop / revise procedures for tacking
Employees whereabouts 10

For example, about 46% of the surveyed employers issued gloves, masks, other personnel protective equipment to at least specific employees (such as mail room workers). Forty there percent instituted new, more stringent, building entry procedures. Those instituting identification requirements or hiring security personnel rose by 15% between December 2001 and July 2002. A SHRM survey found that about 85% of responding organizations now have some type of formal disaster plan in place. Many firms have also instituted special handling procedures for suspicions mail packages and hold regular emergency evacuation drills.

Basic Prerequisite for a Security plan

As one corporate security summary put it, workplace security involves more than keeping track of who comes in a window, installing an alarm system, or employing guards for an after hours watch. Organizations that are truly security conscious plan and implement policies and programs that involve employees in protecting against identified risks and threats:

Ideally, a comprehensive corporate security program should start with the following:

1) Company philosophy and policy on crime – In particular make sure employees understand that no crime is acceptable and that the employer has a zero balance policy with respect to workers who commit crimes.
2) Investigation of job applicants – Conduct a full background check as part of your selection process for every position.
3) Security awareness training – Make it clear, during training and orientation programs, that the employer take a tough approach to workplace crime.
4) Crisis management – Establish and communicate the procedure employees should follow in the event of a terrorist threat, bomb threat, live, or other emergency.

Setting up basic security program

In simplest terms, actually instituting a basic security program requires four steps analyzing the current level of risk and then installing mechanical, natural and organizational security systems.

Security programs ideally start with an analysis of the facility’s current level of risk. The employer preferably with the aid of security experts should assess the company ‘exposure’. Here, it is logical to start with the obvious. For example, what is the neighborhood like? Does your facility (such as the office building you’re in) house other businesses or individuals (such as federal law enforcement agencies) that might bring unsafe activities to your doorstep? Is your facility losing to major highways or railroad tracks (where, for instance toxic fumes from trains could present problems?

As part of its initial current threat assessment the employer should also review at least there six matters:

1) Access to the reception area, including number of access points and need for a panic button for contacting emergency personnel.
2) Interior safety, including possible need for key cards secure restrooms and better identification of exits.
3) Authorities’ involvement, in particular emergency procedures developed with local law enforcement authorities.
4) Mail handling, including how employees screen and open mail and where it enters the building
5) Evacuation including full review of evacuation procedures and training and
6) Back up systems that allows the company to capture computer information at alternative locations if disaster strikes

Having assessed the potential current level of risk, the employer then turns attention to assessing and improving three basics sources of facility security mechanical security, natural security, and organizational security.