State of Vermont
Agency of Administration
Department of Buildings & General Services
Date of Issue: August 01, 2016
TITLE: Workplace Security
This policy applies to all Agencies/Departments in the Executive Branch and all properties owned or leased by the State, in accordance with 29 V.S.A. §§ 171; 172.
PURPOSE AND POLICY STATEMENT
The State of Vermont believes its greatest assets are its employees and the citizens whom we serve. In keeping with this philosophy, Vermont State government is committed to protecting the security and wellbeing of all employees conducting State business wherever required to do so, and all individuals using State services on State property, while maintaining open access to government services. No single policy or process will effectively address the needs of all agencies, departments and facilities, therefore this document provides a framework for agencies and departments to create and update policies and procedures specific to their needs, in coordination with the Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS).
Department of Buildings and General Services shall: In accordance with 29 V.S.A. §§ 171; 172, maintain a Security Division which will be responsible for the safety and security of all State facilities, lands, and occupants of thereof. The Security Division shall lead the effort, in coordination with agencies and departments, to develop all State security plans and protocols, update plans as necessary, and coordinate responses to all security needs.
Appointing Authorities shall: In accordance with this policy, the Area Safety and Security Plan, BGS Security plans and procedures, and applicable statutes and regulations, Appointing Authorities, or their delegates, in coordination with the BGS Security Division, develop specific agency/department/facility plans to ensure the safety and security of their employees, clients, and facilities. Plans will be proactive in nature by focusing on ways to prevent and reduce the risk that an incident may occur. All plans must be approved by the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services or designee.
Supervisors and Managers shall:
- Communicate security policies, plans and procedures to supervised employees and ensure the support thereof.
- Deal immediately with all observed or reported threats to security.
- Ensure appropriate reporting and investigation of threats to security and the inclusion of appropriate notifications are promptly made in accordance with established plans.
- Ensure employees are appropriately trained to recognize threats to security.
- Act in accordance with established workplace security directives and plans in a timely manner.
- Implement appropriate corrective actions to reduce the likelihood of recurring incidents.
Employees shall: Follow BGS security and safety policies, plans, and procedures as well as those developed by their agency/department/facility.
AGENCY/DEPARTMENT SECURITY PLANS
Security plans should address the level and nature of the threats posed. Plans are to be made available to all employees. BGS Security will maintain template security plans and procedures for use by agencies and departments in developing their own plans. Elements of a typical plan include, but are not limited to:
- A copy of the BGS Workplace Security Policy.
- Procedures to conduct work-site assessments
- Work-site response and prevention procedures
- Implementing physical controls and management practices to restrict unwanted or inappropriateaccess to employee work areas and State facilities
- Incident reporting, investigation, follow-up and re-assessment
- Employee training and education requirements
- Response procedures for emergency situations
- Recurring yearly program review and improvement
- After-action reviews for major incidents
A worksite assessment is a step-by-step, common sense evaluation of a workplace to identify existing or potential risks for threats to employees or users of State services in State facilities. This process entails reviewing those facilities, operations, conditions and locales faced by an organization's employees, during the conduct of their work, which could result in exposure to security threats. Note that the workplace is any location where an employee conducts State business, and may not be in a traditional office setting. A worksite assessment considers:
- The risk factors posed by a position such as the types of services provided, the organization's experience and history of violent incidents, employee perceptions and attitudes, and direct contact with the public or clients.
- Identification of jobs or positions within the organization with the greatest risk of exposure to violence, how often risk is present, and when incidents are likely to occur.
- Assessment of security procedures currently in place or planned, the effectiveness of existing procedures to include emergency plans and procedures, and employee security training and its effectiveness.
- The presence of existing or needed physical controls to help reduce the likelihood of employee exposure. These may include items such as barriers, alarm systems/panic buttons, enhanced lighting, security personnel, metal detectors or issue of cellular phones.
- Worksite analyses need to be conducted in collaboration with the BGS Security and at recurring intervals by the organization's, safety or security personnel.
RESPONDING TO SECURITY THREATS
Threats to security include any direct, conditional or implied threat of violence, intentional act, physical assault, damage to personal or state property or other conduct which is accomplished with the intent to cause fear, hostility, intimidation, or harm in the target person(s) or witnesses. When confronted with security threats the following activities must take place:
- Emergency Response: Adherence to BGS and agency/department-specific emergency procedures for the immediate securing the safety of persons and facilities, including notification to law enforcement.
- Notifications: All acts or threats of violence will be reported immediately to the Appointing Authority of the department or agency where the threat is directed, BGS security, and where appropriate, law enforcement authorities. BGS Security will immediately inform the Secretary of Administration and the Commissioners of BGS and the Department of Human Resources (DHR).
- Risk Assessment and Protective Measures: Appointing Authorities, BGS Security, DHR, and law enforcement where applicable, will engage in a risk assessment to determine what investigative and protective measures are most appropriate in specific situations. If additional security measures have been established, they will be reviewed by the same group at least monthly to determine whether they should be continued, extended or discontinued. Employees shall be encouraged and assisted by management as necessary in contacting local law enforcement to discuss available steps that may be taken to enhance their safety outside of the workplace when their security is threated due to their employment.
- Communication with Employees: All potentially affected employees must be promptly notified that a credible threat has been made, and what security measures, if any, will be put in place. Affected Appointing Authorities, BGS Security, and DHR will coordinate on all communications with employees regarding the situation to ensure appropriate and consistent messaging. Employees will be provided with updated information as necessary.
BGS, in coordination with DHR, shall establish security training for all State employees. Additionally, agencies and departments shall consult with BGS Security and the Center for Achievement in Public Service at DHR to develop trainings to meet the individual needs and operations and activities of each organization.
EMPLOYEE SUPPORT SERVICES
The State of Vermont recognizes that few agencies have immediate access to the properly trained cadre of personnel needed to adequately address and support the wide range of workplace violence conditions that may be encountered. While agencies are encouraged to develop support resources internally, the State of Vermont Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help fill in the gaps when incidents require technical expertise outside the organization's in-house resources and capabilities.
The EAP offers a comprehensive, confidential counseling service for supervisors, employees, and their families, providing help with a wide range of problems including: family concerns, depression, anxiety, parenting, relationships, job conflicts, stress, financial, and substance abuse. The EAP provides confidential assistance to employees whose ability is affected by work-related or personal problems. The program's objective is to resolve personal problems early on to avoid the development of more serious difficulties. The State of Vermont will take a trauma-informed approach to safety and security issues whenever possible.
The State will use reasonable legal, managerial and administrative procedures to secure all work sites from violence and reasonably protect its employees and members of the public.
The State's prohibition of threats and incidents of violence applies to all persons, including, but not limited to, state employees, temporary workers, persons or employees of companies providing contract services or products to the State of Vermont, consultants, student interns, volunteers, clients of State services and the public accessing State lands, properties or facilities.
Violations will be subject to legal action as appropriate, which may include criminal prosecution of the person(s) involved.
Department Approval: Michael J. Obuchowski, Commissioner, Department of Buildings and General Services
Agency Approval: Justin Johnson, Secretary, Agency of Administration