Responding to Violence in the Workplace

All too often, we hear about acts of violence taking place at work. Whether you work in a plant, shop, movie theater, office, or park, the danger is the same. These types of things can take place anywhere and be perpetrated by coworkers or complete strangers.

Below is guidance on how to respond when an act of workplace violence occurs, such as a physical fight or attack by an active shooter. In cases like this it can be easy to forget about advice no matter how good it might be, but as in any crisis situation, it’s important to remember to stay calm.


  1. Maintain calm communication with the person
  2. Do not restrain the suspect or force them to leave
  3. Do not touch the person except to defend yourself from a direct physical assault
  4. If the attacker opens fire with a gun make every attempt to escape and hide
  5. Make every possible effort to assist others in leaving the immediate area
  6. NEVER attempt to disarm the person and DO NOT take weapons from them, even if offered
  7. DO NOT threaten the person, argue with them, or ask about their motives
  8. DO NOT attempt to restrain or block the suspects’ exit


  1. Care for any injured persons and call 911
  2. While the information is still fresh in your memory, write down a detailed description of the attacker, vehicle, and license plate number
  3. Take action to secure the scene, and protect any potential evidence, lock doors if necessary to prevent the attackers’ return until police arrive
  4. Inform management, document the event, and direct any media inquires to law enforcement authorities and district management and media spokespersons
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