Employees should be aware of surroundings, deputy cautions

Bill Nachman - Posted on Mar 27, 2013 - 01:34 PM

With incidents of workplace violence on the rise, Deputy Rob Richmond of the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office cautions employees to be aware of their surroundings and trust their gut if a particular situation just doesn’t feel right.

Richmond, who makes presentations to Gloucester businesses on workplace security, recently stopped by the offices of the Gazette-Journal to speak with that firm’s employees about the issue.

He talked about the need for businesses to establish procedures to ensure worker safety and to know what to do to diffuse a confrontational situation. While employees shouldn’t be paranoid about any and all possible dangers, he said, they should be aware if something is out of the ordinary.

For instance, if somebody you don’t know represents himself as being with a utility company, law enforcement agency, or similar concern, ask to see identification or credentials, Richmond said.

When confronted with an angry and potentially aggressive customer, Richmond advised speaking calmly to the person, lowering your voice and attempting to come to a satisfactory resolution. The one thing not to do in such a situation is to tell the person to calm down, because that often has the opposite effect.

A person’s physical bearing also has an impact on whether he or she is a victim, Richmond said. If a person is looking down, odds are that they are probably less aware of their surroundings. Perpetrators look for targets of opportunity and like to strike easily, distracted people, Richmond said.