How Much Security is Enough?  Are You Doing Enough?

Are Your People Safe?  Do They Feel Safe?  Do They Know You Care? 

Does your Security and/or Workplace Violence Prevention and Response Program address your true and present Threats, Risks and Vulnerabilities?  Does it fit your unique Culture, Values, Budgets and History?

Are you spending more on Security than you need to?  Is your Security Program a random blend of varying components deployed over time in response to particular incidents and issues?

Is your security program cost effective?

Where to begin?  How do you Measure and Evaluate your Security or Workplace Violence Prevention and Response Program?

Why a Security and Workplace Violence Assessment?

Security and/or Workplace Violence assessments or surveys might be conducted because:

  • There is a need to understand the real risks, threats and vulnerabilities you face and to evaluate the effectiveness of existing and planned security measures or a workplace violence program

  • A security or workplace violence-related loss incident or breach, violence, active shooter, theft, threat, attack or other compromise has occurred, and there is a need to prevent or mitigate recurrence

  • There is the desire, especially in challenging economic times, to confirm that the security and workplace violence program is as cost effective as it can be

  • A significant change is occurring, such as a new process or building, significant hiring or lay-offs, acquisition or merger, potential strike or work stoppage, etc.

  • There is a heightened concern over a threat in your area or industry such as terrorism, internal theft, activist attack or workplace violence or threat

  • The firm or organization wishes to evaluate, benchmark, validate and/or test existing security programs or assessment/audit methodologies, or

  • The firm or organization wishes to develop a new assessment or audit process that can be self-administered by facility staff on an ongoing basis

Security Assessment
Workplace Violence Planning During and After the COVID-19 Crisis

As the the COVID-19 crisis continues and evolves, safety and security-related risks and vulnerabilities with also evolve.  Some will likely increase including workplace violence, often driven by domestic violence spill-over, and thefts of newly marketable materials.

While at the present we're properly focused upon protecting each other from exposure, preserving our businesses and workers, and supporting and protecting our front-line workers, other risks will likely magnify as new and increased stressors also evolve.   Such stressors could include reduction or complete loss of wages, lack of access to mental health support, domestic conflicts against spouses and family members, heightened resentments based upon conspiracy theories and racism, placing blame upon past or current employers or fellow employees, fear and bitterness driven by little access to food, drugs and other necessities, etc.

During this crisis we perform virtual security and workplace violence assessments with the objective of determining related risks and vulnerabilities during and after the crisis and analyzing whether existing and planned physical and procedural countermeasures will suffice.


This process would consist of:

  • Sending to me, by email, thumb drive or dropbox, relevant materials to review which could include relevant policies, procedures and plans, training programs, recent security incident reports, security officer training programs and post orders, related measurements and contracts/agreements, facility diagrams, etc.

  • Conducting virtual staff interviews by teleconference or videoconference.   I typically interview employees at all levels, departments and shifts, including:

    • Relevant administrators and executives

    • Staff responsible for security, safety and emergency preparedness

    • Risk management and Legal

    • Front line employees (receptionists, greeters, admissions, clerks, etc.)

    • Late shift supervisors

    • Human Resources

    • Facilities Management and Engineering

    • Local Law Enforcement Leaders (optional)

    • Managers, supervisors and employees working in higher-risk areas

    • Etc.

  • Performing a crime analysis of the area of your facility(s) to include crime trends

  • "Touring" your facility(s) virtually by means of teleconference or videoconference, supported by videos/photos of key and critical areas and using provided facility layouts, with Facilities Management and/or Security leaders.

    • Note that much of this process could also be applied to smaller outlying facilities

  • Close-out conferencing with key executives and leaders to outline my preliminary findings and possible recommendations

  • Within a few weeks, submitting an assessment report outlining steps taken, findings, discussion of current risks and vulnerabilities, recommendations and items for consideration/best practices

While not quite as advantageous as an in-person assessment, this process will be less costly and will provide a useful and objective perspective on a facility, department or area of concern.

Following the assessment we can, as needed, develop related security and/or workplace violence policies, procedures and plans.

Please call or write if you would like to discuss this process.  In any case, don't hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or would like to discuss a related issue or concern.

Let's do all we can to be safe and secure through this unique and challenging crisis.

Richard Sem, CPP


Sem Security Management

Burlington, WI


How a Security and Workplace Violence Assessment is Conducted
  • Interviewing key staff (on all shifts) throughout the facility and organization (e.g. Leadership, Security, Safety, EHS, Human Resources , IT/IS, Risk Management, Legal, Operations, Facilities Management, Maintenance, Shipping & Receiving, Finance, Warehousing, etc.)  For hospitals and clinics, we would additionally interview representatives of Nursing, Emergency, Pharmacy, Psychiatric/Behavioral Health, Maternity/Women's Services, Pediatrics, OR/ICU, Food Service, Admitting/Patient Access, Reception, representatives of security sensitive departments, etc.  Interviews would also include key staff working late shifts.

    • We can optionally provide a survey that can be shared with all employees to elicit their feedback and involvement

  • Touring and observing the facility functioning at all hours and shifts,

  • Interviewing representatives of local law enforcement

  • Reviewing relevant materials (e.g. incident and activity reports, crime statistics, policies and procedures, post orders, contracts, plans, specs, police reports, emergency and crisis plans, past security assessments or surveys, etc.),

  • Interviewing and observing security officers at their posts (if any),

  • Evaluating existing and planned procedural and physical security countermeasures that could include:

    • policies, plans and procedures

    • employee awareness, involvement, engagement and ownership

    • video - CCTV - interior and exterior

    • lighting

    • signage

    • lock and key control

    • alarm systems - intrusion, egress and duress (panic)

    • access control

    • visitor control and management

    • security staff, including guard force operations, including numbers, posts, recruitment, training, equipment, retention, motivation, engagement, supervision, scheduling and contracting

    • executive protection

    • fences, barriers and barrier intrusion detection

    • background screening

    • investigative procedures

    • contractor and vendor screening and controls

    • identification processes

    • threat assessment and management

    • training

    • communications and alert systems

    • contraband detection

    • mail and package controls

    • emergency and crisis planning and response

    • workplace violence policies and programs

    • counter-terrorism planning and response considerations

    • etc.

  • Determining relevant security and workplace violence-related threats, vulnerabilities and risks,

  • Benchmarking the security and workplace violence program against comparable local and/or industry standards and best practices

  • Distributing a questionnaire or survey to all or selected employees to elicit their concerns, issues and suggestions (optional)

  • Researching, writing and presenting a comprehensive report of findings and recommendations based upon the security assessment.

We also consider Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) in our planning.

Your overall security and workplace violence prevention and response programs should be a synergistic system in which all measures, whether procedural or physical, logically and strategically contribute to the reasonable and cost effective protection of your people, assets, reputation and value.  Security assessments and surveys, or Threat, Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessments (SVA's), are ideal first steps to assure such a synergistic and strategic program.

Security Assessment, Security Review, Workplace Violence Assessment, Security Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Assessment, Secuirity Assessment