Workplace safety: Deal with the aftermath

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Q. What should I do after violence happens in my DME business?

A. Important as it is to have policies and procedures for workplace violence prevention, your business should be equally prepared to deal with the aftermath of such incidents. Getting the operational side of the business back up to speed is important. However, just as important is dealing with impact on your personnel and fallout from third parties.

First and foremost is helping employees who were victims. Being supportive is not only the right thing to do ethically, it may reduce the likelihood of being sued. Professionals from your employee assistance program or emergency mental health consultants should be briefed and deployed quickly. The victim(s) may need counseling, and/or time off. Never attempt to trivialize an incident or sweep it under the rug. Remember; making a police report is a civil right.

As soon as the facts about the incident are clear, brief managers and co-workers. Employees will have questions. The impact of workplace violence can be insidious. Serious incidents within a facility may cause the police to secure it as a crime scene for a period of time. It may be necessary to have disaster recovery professionals remove stains and repair other damage. In cases were there has been a fatality, the location may become the focus for grieving.

In all cases it makes sense to get legal advice to prevent lawsuits and regulatory actions. If you are not skilled at handling the media find a consultant who is.

Collect information and analyze the incident. Could change in procedures, access control, communication or lighting reduce the risk of future violence?

Joe Rosner is an expert on personal safety, workplace violence and self defense for healthcare occupations. He can be reached at