Worker holding handgun

Most workplace violence deaths involve gun use.

Workplace violence: It’s more common than you think

With 90 percent of Americans considering their workplace a safe space, according to a recent Harris Poll, it's clear that the vast majority of workers don't expect anything of a serious nature will happen to them while they're on the job.

However, given that 20 percent of these same individuals admit to not knowing what to do during an emergency, it's similarly evident that individuals may be operating on a false sense of security.

While greater awareness about the physical dangers that exist has helped make staff members feel better protected, they're far from being truly safe. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 10 percent of all occupational injuries in 2016 were the result of homicides, totaling 500 overall – the most recorded in over five years and an 83 percent increase compared to 2015.

These tragic incidents occurred in various industries, the most common affecting the retail sector. Shootings accounted for 79 percent of the homicides that occurred, with 8 percent attributable to stabbings, according to BLS research.

Injuries related to workplace violence were even more common, totaling close to 16,900 during the same year, based on data from the BLS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seventy percent of those impacted were women with more than two in three between the ages of 25 and 54.

Bottom line: Business owners have to be proactive about mounting a defense. On Sept. 22, at the preview for the 59th annual DRJ Fall Conference, business continuity and preparedness expert Dave Hunt will present the various strategies, tactics, preventive measures and mitigation efforts that can help you develop an active assailant preparedness plan.

The full-day course – taking place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. – is comprehensive and participants will learn the ins and outs of facilitating a workplace plan of action that delivers when there's no time to think and communication is paramount.

For more information about registration and other classes happening before and during the DRJ Conference this month, please visit the official website.