By Tara Gibson - April 7, 2020
Businesses and organizations take workplace safety seriously by implementing strict security measures, safety technology, and workplace safety training. Unfortunately, there are unprecedented risks that a company may face. Towards the end of February 2020, Anthony Ferrill, a former electrician at a Milwaukee brewery, entered his old workplace and opened fire killing 5 coworkers and them himself. This Milwaukee workplace shooting was extremely tragic and leaves businesses on edge considering this incident could occur anywhere depending on the circumstances.The disgruntled former brewery employee had worked at this Milwaukee plant for 15 years until he unfortunately slipped off a ladder and hurt his shoulder, which forced him to miss work, according to the NY Post. He confided in his next-door-neighbor that he had seen “spies” from his old company and complained that they had been sent to his house to watch his movements to make sure he wasn’t faking his injury. He had even pointed to a car outside and claimed to his neighbor that the person in the car was a “spy” and that it irritated him immensely.
After being let go from the company Ferrill was unhappy. He returned to the Milwaukee brewery facility to carry out his attack using a silenced gun and entering the premises with a stolen name tag. The shocking Milwaukee workplace shooting resulted in the death of five victims, all former coworkers who worked as electricians and machinists, as well as the death of Anthony Ferrill himself.
For some businesses, taking precautions can be as simple as swapping out ID badges. We spoke with a security leader at a multinational poultry company who had a few thoughts about the Milwaukee workplace shooting. A major flag for him was that name badges should be worn by employees at all times and if they lose their badge, it should be reported immediately to turn off access. If the name badge or ID isn’t reported missing or stolen, disgruntled past employees or others could enter the workplace to harm employees, steal equipment, or gain access to the company network.
Another major red flag that all companies should be considering is removing corporate and even personal names from the badge as someone picking it off the street can use that information maliciously.
After looking at the Milwaukee workplace shooting it is apparent that the shooter was struggling with some mental health issues. Reports from his neighbor show that he was paranoid and claimed spies were watching him, which could have contributed to his rash decisionmaking prompting him to enter his old workplace and murder his prior coworkers. It’s important to note that not everybody who struggles with mental health problems will be a threat to a company, but providing resources to help employees can be extremely beneficial.
Companies should implement mental health initiatives to ensure employees have a good mindset and won’t injure themselves or others. The CDC explains that mental health issues and stress can negatively impact job performance and productivity, engagement with one’s work, communication with coworkers, and physical capability and daily functioning. By implementing workplace health promotion programs employers can create a culture of wellness in the office. Below are some actions employers could take to promote mental health and wellness:
Companies across the United States have been investing in workplace safety technologies to improve workplace security. Technologies such as mass notification systems and mobile panic buttons have proven to be effective ways to effectively communicate with employees and alert 9-1-1 and first responders if there is an emergency on work grounds.
A panic button solution can immediately alert a business’s security team of an intruder and simultaneously contact emergency services providing critical information, such as the location and nature of the emergency, to emergency responders which will help them when arriving on scene.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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