Think about this: A third of your day is spent working and you'll probably work half of your life, if not more. That's a lot of time. With that kind of commitment, it's important for you to feel secure on the job.
Sure, some jobs are riskier than others. Police, firefighters, stunt performers, coal miners-these people take special precautions the rest of us never have to deal with. But, regardless of where you work, even if it's just you in a solo operation at home, there are safeguards you should take to protect yourself and others.
The first step is to become familiar with all the security measures at your workplace. Are there cameras, a security staff, locks, and alarms? Is there an emergency plan in case of robbery or other crime? Are you given clear and specific steps to follow in an emergency? And are you trained and retrained frequently on these procedures?
Further, you should be aware of all the company's rules, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, and any and all city and state regulations that apply to your business.
What if there aren't any safety precautions in place? Then request that your company distribute written safety and security regulations, the kind specific enough that they can be brought to your supervisor's attention if they aren't followed.
Experts in security risk analysis are paid big bucks to recommend how businesses can improve safety, create a better working environment and increase production. We've assisted such experts and have found that every business-from mom-and-pop stores to Fortune 500 companies-can benefit from these security strategies:
Equipment: You should be trained, then authorized, to operate and repair equipment in a safe manner. You should also be required to wear protective devices, such as goggles and gloves. Unsafe equipment should be reported.
Fire safety: You should be encouraged to comply with all fire safety rules, including keeping passageways and doorways clear of debris and the control of any open flames.
Hazardous or toxic materials: You should comply with all laws related to the safe use, storage, handling and disposal of hazardous or toxic materials. Chemical spills must be reported immediately.
Injuries: You should report any work-related accidents, injuries, near-misses or illnesses to your supervisor.
Smoking: It's against the law in some states to smoke in the workplace. Even without state laws, most facilities don't allow smoking inside because of the health risks involved. Any smoking is usually only permitted outside, on balconies or in garages where it's safe.
Your personal property should be protected while on the job. Many companies provide lockers or secured areas to keep purses, coats and other personal belongings. Common sense tells you, though, that you should be discreet with valuables-don't show-off your designer wallet, then leave it on your desk as you go for coffee. And keep in mind that companies aren't legally responsible for the damage, loss or theft of any employee's property, including vehicles, at the workplace.
When a crime has been committed, a company calls in the law. If an employee is suspected, a private investigator may be called to conduct an extensive investigation. If someone from the inside wants to steal, it will be easier for him or her than for an outsider to thwart your security measures.
We worked with the manger of a retail store whose merchandise was disappearing. She was careful, even installing security cameras and hiring undercover guards to watch the store, but shoplifters weren't the problem. She brought us in to interview employees. We also had one of our investigators pose as a new employee.
In one week, we discovered the problem was a long-time employee. The merchandise was smuggled out of the storeroom, in a spot without cameras, and after hours, after the security staff had gone home.
Employee theft can cost a company more than just money. It can cost a business its reputation. Here's an example: A group of professionals book meeting space in a hotel, then find the room ransacked when they return from lunch. They hold the hotel financially responsible for not securing the room. Besides having to pay for the loss, the hotel loses future business with the group and any referrals it might have sent the hotel's way.
Employees need to be well-trained on how to respond to a robbery and how to prevent it, if possible. Retail workers need to know how to spot and stop shoplifting, and they should be on the lookout for counterfeit money, forgeries and bad checks.
If your job involves handling cash, insist that proper procedures be enforced when making deposits, including escorted money drops and having private areas available if cash needs to be counted. Also, make sure everything is documented; that way you'll be cleared if something ends up missing.
“Regardless of where you work, there are safeguards you should take to protect yourself and others.”
Employees should wear ID badges in restricted areas. Anyone without proper identification should be questioned. To prevent unauthorized use of cards, workers should report lost or stolen cards to a supervisor immediately and turn in their ID cards when no longer employed at the company.
Department, personnel and medical records are the company's property. They are confidential and should be secured in a place where they can't be copied or disclosed. Documents containing personal information should be shredded before they're thrown away.
Applicants should be carefully screened and the information they have on their resume verified before they're told, "You're hired!" A private investigator can make sure someone checks outs completely before the company goes to the expense of putting the applicant on the payroll.
Once hired, their resume and employment application should become part of their permanent record. Later, if the company discovers false statements on an application, it should let the employee know immediately. This is especially important if the false information affected the hiring decision and can now lead to the employee's dismissal.
“The simple art of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” Thomas Peters