Physical Security in the Workplace

physical security in the workplace

There’s no denying it. Physical security in the workplace is hard to discuss. Bringing it up often evokes thoughts of scary scenarios where you might need it. But the stakes are as high as they can get: emotional trauma, physical violence, and even death are often the unfortunate results of inadequate workplace security measures. So it’s vitally important to discuss it and do everything you can to protect your employees, customers, and the public.

What is Physical Security? 

Physical security refers to detecting, deterring, and protecting people and property against physical actions and events that could damage an enterprise, agency, or institution.

The Four Types of Workplace Violence

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as physical violence, intimidation, harassment, bullying, or disruptive behavior at work.

Workplace violence is categorized into four basic types:

Type 1 – Criminal Intent – Theft is the primary motive for this type of workplace violence. These are crimes committed by individuals who do not have a relationship with the targeted company or its employees. This includes robberies or shoplifting incident that turns violent.


  • A retail employee is held at gunpoint while cash is stolen.
  • A night shift employee is assaulted in the business’s parking lot.

Type 2 – Client to Worker – In these cases, there is a legitimate relationship between the perpetrator and the business in the case of client-to-worker violence. It can occur when a customer, client, patient, or becomes violent while being served by the victim (waiter, nurse, teacher, etc.).


  • A diner at a restaurant loses their temper and verbally attacks a waiter for getting their order wrong.
  • While being examined, an emotionally distraught patient physically attacks a doctor.

Type 3 – Worker to Worker – The perpetrator of this type of workplace violence has a working relationship with the targeted business. They often involve physical violence by an employee (current or former) against a co-worker, supervisor, or manager. Conflicts between employees are usually motivated by work-related issues or interpersonal issues.


  • After a supervisor denies a vacation request from an employee, the employee becomes agitated and physically assaults the supervisor.
  • A salesperson is offended when a co-worker “steals” one of their clients. They use offensive language and threaten violence.

Type 4 – Domestic Violence – These include individuals with a personal relationship with the target but no relationship with the business. Typically, these occur due to a domestic dispute or romantic disagreement that turns into a physical attack or threat.


  • An ex-girlfriend repeatedly calls the office to threaten her ex and ask co-workers about their daily habits.
  • A jealous husband follows his partner to work and threatens her for jealousy reasons.

Physical Security: How Should Businesses Prioritize It?

In today’s workplace, physical security systems are essential. Having suitable systems in place should be a top priority for businesses of all sizes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,250 workplace violence incidents were reported in 2018. In fact, workplace violence incidents accounted for a whopping 16% of all fatal occupational injuries. The most common type of workplace violence is verbal abuse, followed by physical assault and threats. The most common motives for workplace violence include robbery, revenge, and mental illness.

Security Tips for Businesses

There are many risks every organization faces. In most cases, physical security systems can detect and deter them. These are the top ways to improve office and business security. 

Surveillance Cameras

The first line of defense for any business is monitored video surveillance. With it, you can keep track of what is happening at the facility 24/7, prevent losses, and keep a time stamp on all activities. 

Intrusion Systems

An intrusion system detects and prevents illegal entry through motion detection and alarms. 

Access Control

By controlling access to the building and critical areas inside the facility, the facility can be protected. By managing access, employers can keep track of employee activity and make the workplace safer. 

Professional Monitoring 

Professional monitoring ensures that a highly-trained security professional is ready to verify an emergency and initiate law enforcement when events trigger an alarm. 

Increase Workplace Security 

A robust security system installed in a business is vital to reducing workplace violence and ensuring the safety and well-being of employees and customers. By investing in surveillance cameras, intrusion detectors, access control measures, and business alarm monitoring, organizations can help create a secure environment that deters potential offenders and enables a swift response in case any unfortunate event does occur. Not only does a security system act as a powerful deterrent, but it also promotes a workplace culture of safety, trust, and productivity. By prioritizing the well-being of your employees, you can better foster a positive work environment that empowers individuals to thrive and contribute to the business’s success.

Providing best-in-class service and customized solutions to meet your commercial vertical market and discipline needs. Unlike proprietary systems, our solutions are scalable and can grow with your business. Are you looking for a commercial security company? Look no further. We are here to help. To find out more, contact Life Safety Fire and Security Solutions at 1-800-263-1116.

Comments are closed.
Verified by MonsterInsights