Workplace Weapons Policy?

Submitted by Federated Insurance

Should our company have a specific safety in the workplace or weapons policy?

It is a best practice and our recommendation that employers establish and implement a safety/anti-violence policy that is clearly communicated to employees (and where applicable, visitors), and in some cases this may include a training component, as well as a weapons policy (though the latter depends upon the applicable state’s firearm regulations). While to our knowledge there is no federal law specifically mandating workplace violence policies in all cases (although this may be required in certain industries, such as healthcare for example), as noted, occupational safety and health laws do require employers to ensure that their workplaces are safe.... Employers that do not take measures to protect the workplace against violence can be held liable for acts that occur there. employer is in a better position to defend a claim where it has clearly communicated and consistently enforced a policy prohibiting the conduct at issue.

...At a minimum, prevention programs should:
• Establish a clear policy for workplace violence, verbal and nonverbal threats and related actions. All personnel employed in the retail establishment should know the policy.
• Ensure that no worker who reports or experiences workplace violence faces reprisals.
• Encourage workers to promptly report incidents and suggest ways to reduce or eliminate risks. Require records of incidents to assess risk and measure progress.
• Outline a comprehensive plan for maintaining security in the workplace. The plan should include establishing a liaison with law enforcement representatives and others who can help identify ways to prevent and mitigate workplace violence.
• Assign responsibility and authority for the program to individuals or teams with appropriate training and skills. Ensure that adequate resources are available and that those responsible for the program develop expertise on workplace violence prevention in late-night retail settings.” For more information, please see OSHA’s Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs.

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