SLC 2017 Q&As: Protecting Employees from an Active Shooter

July 13, 2017
Attorney Travis Vance and experienced law enforcement personnel will walk Safety Leadership Conference attendees through the scenario of an active shooter in the workplace.

A 2014 report from the FBI found active shooter incidents in the United States now occur on an average of once a month. Of these incidents, almost (45.6 percent) occurred at a business while nearly one quarter (24.4 percent) occurred at Pre-K-to-12 schools and institutions of higher learning.

Travis W. Vance, Of Counsel, Fisher & Phillips LLP, has assembled a panel of experienced law enforcement professionals to talk about active shooter situations and what EHS professionals and employers can do to protect workers. That session, part of the Compliance Track of the Safety Leadership Conference 2017 in Atlanta, is titled “An Active Shooter is At Your Company’s Door: How Do You Protect Your Employees?” According to Vance, it will be “an interactive workshop on preparing for and responding to workplace violence.”

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EHS Today: Can you offer us a description of your presentation and how it relates to safety leadership?

Travis Vance: Veteran law enforcement officers will walk you through a mock, interactive shooter event, and describe how you can prepare for, respond to and avoid such a situation.

EHS Today: Why is the topic of your presentation of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees? 

Travis Vance: The unfortunate recent rise in workplace-related violence.

EHS Today: Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to safety leadership or the topic of your presentation. 

Travis Vance: I have advised several employers on responding to situations where an employee has become disgruntled. It’s an intense situation that must be handled immediately, and in the correct manner.

EHS Today: What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees? 

Travis Vance: After the seminar, attendees will:

  • Have a plan in place to prepare for an active shooter situation, prevent workplace violence, react to an active shooter situation, and prepare for an OSHA inspection that may follow an active shooter situation;
  • Know what to look for to prevent workplace violence;
  • Know which company policies to modify to prevent workplace violence;
  • Know their rights if and when OSHA arrives;
  • Be able to put procedures in place to enhance employee safety; and
  • Have a greater understanding of the interplay of OSHA with other types of laws and litigation.

EHS Today: What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2017 and beyond? 

Travis Vance: Understanding that developing a workplace culture where employees are more likely to share information that concerns them, even personally (e.g., domestic issues), is crucial to keeping employee safe.

EHS Today: How will this session help attendees be a better resource for their employees and company? 

Travis Vance: Understanding that a proactive, and not reactive, approach to workplace violence must be implemented.

(EHS Today's 2017 Safety Leadership Conference and America’s Safest Companies Award Program will take place Sept. 11-13 in Atlanta, GA at the Hilton Atlanta. This event is designed to share best leadership, risk management, compliance and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies. The conference features 28 sessions across four performance tracks; Safety & Risk Management, Compliance, Construction Safety and Safety Technology.)

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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