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Offsite Safety – Workplace Violence Self Defense

- November 14, 2016 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

In my previous blog on workplace safety, I discussed how to reduce the likelihood of one of your employees becoming a victim of a crime by being aware of their surroundings and pre-planning travels.  For this post, I will review self-defense strategies to reduce the severity of the attack if the unfortunate should occur.

First, no matter what you have seen in the movies, there is no deadly ninja-move that can get someone out of a dangerous situation every time. There are self-defense techniques like wrist locks and escapes that can be learned over time, but like playing an instrument, self-defense takes practice.  If your employees are a likely target for workplace violence, due to working in high crime areas or working alone in homes, finding a local qualified self-defense instructor to conduct in person training is something to seriously consider. 

In the meantime, here are some basic tips to arm your staff if they ever need to fend off an attacker. 

  1. Car keys, tools, computer bags, cell phones can all become a weapon. These items are hard and will do more damage than a fist.  Aim for the vulnerable parts of the attacker such as the eyes, face, neck, and groin.
  2. Always face the attacker. Turning you back will do no good.  If you are facing your attacker when grabbed, you can still fight back or break away.
  3. Be willing to fight for your life. If attacked, the outcome can be deadly.  Be willing to defend yourself with whatever it takes to survive.
  4. When you have a chance to run – Go! Get to a safe place and find help.  Your attacker may not be subdued for long, so get away when you can.

Having the right mindset to survive is important, but no one can predict their reaction to an attack— which is why practicing self-defense techniques repeatedly is so important.  If your company cannot organize a self-defense class for your staff, you should encourage them to find resources on their own.  If an attack occurs, you need your staff to be prepared.