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2000 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 3, No. 2
July 1998

Suggestions for Making Agencies Safer

  1. Develop and adopt an agency mission statement that incorporates staff safety.

  2. Develop a safety committee (or committees) to research and focus resources on the development and maintenance of safety programming.

  3. Develop a method of assessing risk to staff in the performance of agency tasks, and develop supports for use when a higher level of risk exists. (For example, worker teams or a buddy system, protocols for use of law enforcement, etc.)

  4. Develop staff development and training opportunities that bring the latest information on personal safety into the workplace.

  5. Develop caseload/client contact guidelines (For example, monitoring or flagging of dangerous clients/cases; assigning cases with consideration for gender, ethnicity and culture, language, etc.; and planning field and office visits for safety.)

  6. Develop an incident reporting system to allow staff the ability to officially relate troubling situations or areas of concern.

  7. Develop and disseminate written office and field safety procedures for all staff to follow. These procedures can range from the simple (staff signing out/in) to the complex (protocol for use of security guards or law enforcement).

  8. Develop a safety plan for buildings the agency operates. Agencies need to encourage building administrators to develop safe and secure buildings for staff to work in. A general objective is to create a climate in which both staff and visitors feel secure.

  9. Develop a clear, concise communicable disease policy. The purpose is to provide guidelines in preventing the contraction of communicable diseases.

  10. Develop a policy for follow-up to victimization and trauma suffered by staff. Serious incidents, such as a personal threat, assault, or a staff fatality are significant emotional events. These have the power, because of the circumstances in which they occur, to cause unusual psychological distress in a healthy, normal individual. These types of events also point out the necessity of providing for an agency-wide support system to assist victims and staff in the recovery process.

Source

Griffin, W. V. (1997). Staff safety in human services agencies. Protecting Children, 13 (1), 4-7. Mr. Griffin has done extensive work throughout the U.S. on staff safety issues. Tel: 800/820-0001.

1998 Jordan Institute for Families