A new government resource will help agencies create effective workplace violence prevention and response programs.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Interagency Security Committee published Violence in the Federal Workplace: A Guide for Prevention and Response 2019 and released it to federal departments and agencies this week.
The guide is designed to address workplace violence in federal facilities, because the committee found that the "overwhelming majority" of workplace violence incidents were conducted by individuals who were permitted to be in the facility—employees and customers.
"In light of recent events, such as the workplace shooting in Virginia Beach and the recent downtown Dallas federal building shootout, the need for developing the capability to prepare for, prevent, and respond to incidents of workplace violence remains a priority," says Brian Harrell, chair of the committee and assistant director for infrastructure security at CISA. "Many, who have never experienced workplace violence, believe it will never happen in their office. While violent incidents are somewhat rare, they do occur and can cause injury or death. A little preparation and an investment in prevention could save a life."
The guide outlines the challenge of preventing workplace violence in federal facilities before providing steps to plan, prevent, and respond to incidents—including training and regular assessments of prevention programs.
"This guide provides important information to assist department and agency security planners as they address a growing issue becoming increasingly present throughout both the public and the private sector—acts of violence in the workplace," Harrell says. "This update reflects the latest developments in the field, along with best practices in the area of insider threat, understanding the pathways to violence, and the role of behavioral risk assessments."
The guide applies to those that are responsible for all buildings and facilities in the United States that are occupied by U.S. federal employees for non-military activities. However, Harrell adds that it can provide valuable information for state and local partners, including critical infrastructure owners and operators.
"The guidance covers not only the macro issues of facility security, but also incidents of physical violence such as shootings and assaults and the far more prevalent incidents of nonphysical violence, intimidation, bullying, and other inappropriate behaviors prone to create an environment that can exacerbate the potential for violence," according to the guide.