Editor’s Note: Putting Safety First

By Debbie Bolla

Do you feel safe at work? It’s a question that is getting harder and harder to answer. Consider these statistics:

    • According to SHRM’s 2019 Workplace Violence study, nearly 50 percent of HR professionals said their company had at some point experienced a workplace violence incident -up from 36 percent in 2012.
    • The Workplace Bullying Institute reports that 20 percent of adult American workers said they have been bullied at work and another 20 percent have witnessed that behavior.

And the February shooting at the Henry Pratt manufacturing company that killed five people and wounded six others still feels very fresh for many HR leaders and workers. That includes Jill Geimer, managing director and head of HR for Ecentria Group, an online retailer with a large inventory warehouse in the region.

“We all tuned into the news coverage and they weren’t saying the name of the warehouse or the company,” she recalls in our cover story Under Fire by Associate Editor Marta Chmielowicz. “It was a heart-stopping moment and we reached out as quickly as we could to our employees.”

But it was one of those moments that led to action. Geimer shares how through Ecentria Group’s formal workplace violence policy, “Violence in the Workplace and Emergency Prevention Plan,” the organization creates a safe environment for all employees. The story also features best practices for designing a blueprint for workplace safety and prevention.

Our special section also provides guidance (but not legal advice) on preventing bullying and creating a healthy workplace culture (see Zero Tolerance); implementing effective active shooter and workplace violence preparedness policies (see The Duty of Care); and building anti-harassment policies that promote an inclusive workplace (see Mitigating Harassment).

Because no one should feel unsafe at work.

Tags: May 2019

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