Terrorism & Safety: Since 9/11, Safety Professionals Increasingly Are Involved in Efforts to Protect Employees and Facilities against the Threat of Terrorism. Here Is Expert Planning Advice on Developing a Thorough Security Program

Article excerpt

The safety profession has been profoundly impacted by the events of 9/11.

As a discipline, the safety function has been steadily assimilating the security aspects of what it means to "be safe" within the work environment. With the increase of workplace violence, employees "going postal" and acts of aggression by customers, clients, visitors and even neighbors, safety professionals have had to increase their knowledge of security and incorporate that knowledge as an integral part of their safety responsibilities. Gone are the days of security being the guards at the gate, with a wave-thru to get into the facility.

With the increased risk of terrorism, the physical protection of the facility has become the focal point of how to achieve an acceptable level of "safeness" within the confines of the facility, as well as how to keep the employees safe while performing their daily tasks.

We in the safety profession have had to rethink our positions relative to how to provide a secure and safe working environment. We've had to look at engineering safeguards, procedural methodologies and structural barriers, as well as ways to minimize the threat of biohazards, chemical hazards and even weapons of mass destruction.

It is obvious that facility security is needed to guard against external threats, such as terrorism and sabotage. Additionally, facility security should protect against internal threats such as workplace violence.

A well-planned security program will encompass a number of efforts, paying special attention to screening and background checks for personnel; training security professionals and in-house staff; preventing unauthorized entry and controlling access; actively and effectively safeguarding and protecting sensitive materials; periodically inspecting security controls and audits; establishing levels of accountability, enforcement and authorization; controlling chemical disposal efforts; developing access restrictions and controlling movement within the facility; continuously evaluating and monitoring personnel in sensitive areas; developing education programs in information security; and applying security techniques, devices, procedures and policies.

Security Management System

The guide below suggests some elements that might be incorporated into a company security management system. Some companies might need more elements than these, depending on the type of industry and the product produced.

* Risk assessment and prevention strategies

* Security policies

* Collaboration with other corporate departments and with local law enforcement agencies, local emergency planning committees, etc.

* Incident reporting systems

* Employee training and security awareness

* Incident investigations

* Emergency response and crisis management

* Periodic reassessment of the security plan for physical security, including access control, perimeter protection, intrusion detection, security officers, ongoing testing and maintenance and backup systems

* Employee security measures (including prudent hiring and termination practices)

* Workplace violence prevention and response

* Information, computer and network security.

Initial Planning

The first step in constructing a solid security program is to conduct a risk/vulnerability assessment. One common and recommended risk assessment tool for all processes which could be hazardous is a Process Security Assessment (PSA). This is different than a Process Hazard Assessment (PHA), although it is recommended you conduct a PHA when hazardous chemicals are involved. A Process Security Assessment uses the same methodology as a PHA, but the purpose of the PSA is the prevention and mitigation of a hazard caused by intentional or criminal acts. These activities can include acts of terrorism, vandalism, sabotage or workplace violence. …