Ensuring a Safe Workplace

Office worker meeting

Intro

As more workplaces are targeted by a variety of physical threats, it is critical to examine the figures behind this phenomenon. Recent research from the world’s largest human resources organization, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), outlines a rise in workplace violence, ranging from verbal threats to mass casualty attacks. One in four HR professionals reported an incident of workplace violence in the past year, pointing to a high rate of violence that should concern all employers. Disturbingly, 48% of HR professionals said that their organization had experienced an incident of workplace violence before. 

The Challenge 

Over time, regulatory and technological advancements have contributed to safer working conditions, yet according to SHRM, a staggering two million Americans are victims of workplace violence annually, and one in seven employees feel unsafe at work. If that figure is applied to the national workforce, it means 22 million Americans go to work every day without feeling safe. In addition to endangering human lives, workplace violence can impact employee morale, retention, customer relationships, and financial performance. This pervasive issue creates a serious challenge for America’s working professionals, employers, and security professionals.  

External attacks, such as those on Westgate Mall, The Capital Gazette, and Charlie Hebdo, have many businesses looking outward for potential threats. However, 15% of workplace homicides are committed by a co-worker, emphasizing the need for internal screening. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 76% of workplace homicides are committed with a firearm. These internal threats range from disgruntled employees, like the shooting in Aurora, Illinois, to those entrusted to be in secured areas, such as the baggage handler in Atlanta who smuggled 135 guns onto commercial flights.

Importance of Prevention & Training Programs

               Naturally, it is difficult for any workplace to deal with a violent incident, but SHRM’s research shows that those who prepare effectively are significantly better off. The organization heavily stresses the value of implementing a program to prevent workplace violence. At firms with employee response training and violence prevention programs, almost nine out of ten employees are confident that they “know what to do” in a violent situation. At organizations without these preventative measures, the figure is five in ten. These figures demonstrate the importance of making sure employees understand the resources available to them and are trained in violence prevention and emergency response. 

Spotting Red Flags

History has shown that violent incidents occur at almost every size and type of business, and it only takes one disgruntled employee to inflict long-lasting pain on an organization. According to SHRM, indicators of potential violence include noticeable decreases in attention to appearance or hygiene, resistance or overreaction to changes in policy, and noticeably unstable, emotional responses. When considering potential warning signs or threats, SHRM reports that one of the safest ways to voice concerns is through an anonymous tip line. However, the workplace can be unpredictable, and warning signs may not appear until it is too late, further stressing the importance of deploying effecting security measures and training employees how to act in an emergency. 

Solutions

While more commonly targeted businesses, such as airports, have been making strides in employee screening, many other businesses only act after an incident occurs. With violence persisting in the American workplace, the need for efficient, reliable security measures has never been greater. Improving workplace security requires a variety of considerations and factors, including assessing security vulnerabilities and receiving stakeholder feedback. In order to ensure a safe workspace for employees, customers, and guests, internal and external threats need to be comprehensively evaluated, including the strategies put in place to deal with them.  If an organization decides to screen employees for physical threats, it must be in a respectful, non-invasive manner that doesn’t interrupt regular business functions. Physical threat detection systems like the Evolv Edge accomplish this, allowing businesses to utilize a scalable, risk-based security model based on perceived threat level. 

The Lesson We Still Need to Learn from Sandy Hook

Heart-shaped stone

By Mike Ellenbogen, CEO of Evolv Technology –

Six years after the tragedy, we’re still treating active shooter attacks as isolated incidents

It’s been six years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. A week after that awful day, Evolv advisor Juliette Kayyam wrote an incisive, rage-fueled column for the Boston Globe, entitled “Details are a Distraction in Newtown Killing”. Her plea was for society to stop fixating on the personal stories of each active shooter, as though perfect understanding could somehow prevent future attacks, and focus instead on pragmatic, real-world measures to dissuade all would-be attackers.

For Juliette, gun control is an essential part of the solution. But whatever your political beliefs, there’s no arguing her goal: to make an unsafe world as safe as it can be, without impinging on our free way of life. That’s been Evolv’s mission from the start.

We are fortunate to have Juliette on board to advise us and help spread our message. She was homeland security advisor for the state of Massachusetts, before becoming President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. These days, she is a frequent guest analyst on CNN.

Here is a link to Juliette’s column. It’s worth reading again.

Read more from Juliette in A Citizen’s Guide to Stopping the Next Active Shooter.

Evolv Edge Wins R&D 100 Award

R&D 100 Logo

By Melissa Cohen, VP of Marketing at Evolv Technology –

As we near the end of 2018, here at Evolv we’ve been reflecting on recent accomplishments and challenges – and resolving to find more ways to keep people safe in 2019. Momentum around Evolv Edge™ continues to grow, and the positive feedback from the industry and our peers is propelling our team forward into the New Year.

Most recently, Evolv Edge was named a winner in the R&D 100 awards. This prestigious award recognizes the top 100 revolutionary technologies of the past year across five categories and we are honored to be named a winner in the Safety & Security category.

Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards have been considered the most globally prestigious recognition of invention and innovation. Past winners include sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, disruptive chemistry breakthroughs, and new consumer products and technologies spanning industry, academia and government.

After spending three years developing the Evolv Edge and testing it in the field with users and government testing labs, it is rewarding to see the system receiving various awards and industry designations. In addition to the R&D 100 award, Evolv Edge was recently recognized as a Gold Winner in the metal/weapons detection category of the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards from American Security Today. Evolv Edge also achieved the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) SAFETY Act Designation and completed operational testing and evaluation by Safe Skies.

We are committed to designing a system that takes the hassle out of people screening. Whether our system is scanning guests and employees at a sports stadium, a performing art venues or an international airport, it consistently scans everyone for bombs, weapons and persons of interest without the need to stop and empty their pockets. The end result is a superior security and visitor experience that is designed to fit into an organization’s personalized security plan.

Our systems have screened millions of people globally and that number is growing every day. As we set our sights on 2019, we look forward to new opportunities that will enable us to continue putting safety first at a time when the threat landscape is ever changing.

Learn more about our recent certifications and awards. If you are interested in joining our team, check out our open positions.

The SAFETY Act Designation – Why It Matters to You

Safety Act Blog Header Logo

By Mike Ellenbogen, Co-Founder and CEO at Evolv Technology –

Today, we’re extremely proud to share that we have been awarded a SAFETY Act Designation as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology (QATT) from the Department of Homeland Security for our Evolv Edge™ system. The SAFETY Act (Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act), enacted in 2002, was designed to encourage the development and utilization of anti-terrorism technologies in the U.S. Without the protections the SAFETY Act provides, companies like Evolv, both large and small, would not be shielded from potential liability claims, and might therefore be unwilling to assume the risk of developing and deploying new, cutting edge anti-terrorism technologies. The SAFETY Act encourages continued innovation in the fight against terrorism, and those products recognized under this program have been put through a rigorous evaluation process.

Those who are considering and evaluating physical security systems can be assured that products that have achieved this Designation have been thoroughly vetted and validated to perform as designed to prevent terrorist acts. And for those who are already customers, a SAFETY Act Designation is just further proof that you made the right decision.

But assurance of product performance is only one benefit. The SAFETY Act not only shields sellers from civil liability if there is an act of terrorism but also shields the buyers who are using SAFETY Act Designated products.

That’s right – the SAFETY Act states, “The SAFETY Act created liability limitations for claims resulting from an act of terrorism where Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies (QATTs) have been deployed. The Act applies to a broad range of technologies, including products, services, and software, or combinations thereof. Parties covered under the SAFETY Act are referred to as “Sellers” and can include any person, firm, or other entity that provides a QATT to customer(s) and to whom a Designation has been issued. The Act applies to claims against the Seller of a QATT that are filed in United States courts. Similar claims may not be brought against the buyers, buyers’ contractors, or downstream users of the QATT.”

The SAFETY Act doesn’t only apply to technology. You can also apply to get a SAFETY Act Designation for your facility and organization. Countless shopping mall properties, corporations, stadiums, and sporting leagues have applied for and achieved the Designation. Deploying detection and prevention systems, like the Evolv Edge, is one component that will help you on your path to achieve the SAFETY Act Designation when combined with a comprehensive plan.

I know first-hand just how important this distinction is as this is the second time I’ve received the SAFETY Act Designation. The first was for the Reveal CT-80, a product I created when I started Reveal Imaging Technologies. It was the first explosive detection system (EDS) to be certified as an approved product for Homeland Security under the SAFETY Act.

1: So just how rigorous is it to obtain a SAFETY Act Designation? Here’s some of the criteria:

2: Prior United States Government use or demonstrated substantial utility and effectiveness

3: Availability of the technology for immediate deployment in public and private settings

4: Magnitude of risk exposure to the public if the technology is not deployed

5: Evaluation of scientific studies that can be feasibly conducted to assess the capability of the technology to substantially reduce risks of harm

6: Effectiveness of the technology in facilitating the defense against acts of terrorism

The SAFETY Act benefits everyone – it allows companies to create products that protect the public. It allows businesses to deploy the products that protect the public. And, most importantly, it allows the public to be safer when using facilities that have SAFETY Act Designated products in place.

For more information on Evolv’s SAFETY Act Designation, please read the press release.

EBOOK: A Security Professional’s “Must Find” Threshold for Detection

Hand Held Metal Detector

By Melissa Cohen, Vice President of Marketing –

The last year has seen horrific mass casualty assaults in places people in most countries have never had to seriously worry about going. School shootings have continued, and we’ve been appalled by carnage at houses of worship, nightclubs, music concerts and corporate offices. This scourge, along with the continued potential for terrorist attacks from abroad, has many security professionals wondering about their options for boosting physical security—including potentially adding weapons detection screening for the first time. To help you get started, we’ve prepared an eBook, entitled “Detecting Physical Security Threats: Key Considerations for Security, Venue Operators and Facility Managers.”

Obviously, adding or increasing physical security is a big decision—especially for “soft-target” locations. Air travelers know, expect–even welcome–screening when they head to the airport. Not so with malls, shopping centers, and other places people congregate to worship, learn or be entertained. People go to a concert, sporting event, or shopping mall because they want to, not because they have to. While in today’s world most people appreciate the need for security, if it’s too time-consuming and intrusive, they’ll turn away from your venue. After all, you’re in business to provide a carefree, entertaining experience—not to turn a night out into what feels like a visit to a hardened military installation.

The key is to determine the right balance of security and convenience for your particular business or organization. Based on our own executives’ decades of experience and extensive interviews with a range of industry experts, it’s critical to define your threshold of risk. Are you looking to stop only massive attacks with explosives and assault weapons? What about a small, limited capacity pistol or brass knuckles? One strategy is to choose technologies that will find only weapons of a particular size and shape. Or maybe you want a flexible system, so you can turn up the acuity to find every last switchblade when high-profile guests are in attendance?

This e-Book will help you make those decisions.

Click here to learn more about a balance between threat detection and a positive visitor experience—traditionally, two mutually opposing goals.

Key considerations for detecting physical security threats