The 2021 fourth quarter edition of The Californian: The Quarterly Newsletter of CALSAGA is now available!


Click here to read The Californian.

As an association we strive to keep you up-to-date on relevant information for your business. Please see information below regarding association advocacy on the matters of AB 2220/Firearm Assignment and mandatory arbitration agreements. 

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In September, CALSAGA Board of Directors met with the Department of Justice to request an updated bulletin regarding the assignment of firearms to licensed security officers by Private Patrol Operators.

We are glad to report that an update has been provided. We strongly encourage you to print a copy for all armed officers to carry on their person while on duty and to replace all previous versions of the bulletin with the one linked below.

Firearms Bulletin from DOJ

The first version of the bulletin was issued in 2017 and was a victory in a hard-fought battle by CALSAGA. This bulletin provides reassurance to members who employ armed officers. AB 2220 allows a Private Patrol Operator to be a registered owner of a firearm. Additionally, this bill allows a security officer to be assigned a firearm by the PPO and for a firearm custodian to be designated by the PPO. Previous practices and statutes authorized the purchase, registration, and ownership of firearms by an individual, but not by a business entity. AB 2220 authorized business ownership and registration of firearms in the case of PPOs who are actively providing armed private contract security services. A PPO may assign firearms it owns to employees who are licensed to carry firearms by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.

As a result of AB 2220, a problem presented itself because the current Dealer Record of Sale (DROS) Entry System (DES) is not capable of recognizing a business as a firearm purchaser or owner. The Department of Justice intends to modify the DES and Automated Firearm System (AFS) to allow a PPO to be listed as the purchaser and registered owner of a firearm. Additionally, the DOJ intends to create a process for PPOs to submit a Certificate of Assignment to identify the employee of the PPO in AFS who has been assigned a firearm owned by the PPO. At this time there is no anticipated completion date for this project and previous anticipated completion dates have not been met.

Those intentions were stated in the bulletin to law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the bulletin cautioned that law enforcement personnel may continue to encounter armed security officers who have the requisite permits and qualifications to carry a firearm in the course of their duties, but who are not actually the registered owners of the firearm. Law enforcement agencies are advised that an assignment of a firearm to an eligible and licensed security officer by a PPO is not a violation of Penal Code 27545.

Please remind all armed officers to carry this bulletin on their person while on duty.

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PAGA reform continues to be on the association’s agenda. Recently the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) approached the association regarding an opportunity to support their AB 51 litigation efforts. This is an avenue for us to fight PAGA claims. CALSAGA made a contribution of $15,000 to support these efforts and to protect our members. That would not have been possible without the continued financial support of our members.

AB 51 which was signed into law in October 2019 precludes employers from enforcing arbitration agreements made as a condition of employment—and making it a crime for businesses to do so—even if workers may opt out of arbitration. Previously a temporary restraining order was issued however a recent ninth circuit court decision may allow AB 51 to go into effect. The CalChamber is fighting this and CALSAGA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to you as they are available.


Barry A. Bradley, Esq., Bradley, Gmelich + Wellerstein, CALSAGA Legal Advisor

AUTHOR’S CORRECTION AND REVISION:  To clarify some questions raised by this article when it originally published, the Incident Report requirements below are more detailed to reflect that submitting the report to BSIS is required when an employee is discharged, suspended, or reprimanded as the result of being in a physical altercation with a member of the public. (See, “The New Rule,” below with added language.)  Not every employee discharge, suspension or reprimand requires an Incident Report.  Sorry for any confusion.

Earlier this year, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 229 into law. Among other things, this new law expands the duty of California Private Patrol Operators (PPOs) to report “incidents” that occur by security officers on duty.  Not only does it greatly enlarge the obligation and the circumstances of reporting, but citations for failure to report have just increased from $1,000 per violation to $5,000 per violation. Wow!  And this requirement took effect immediately.


The New Rule:

The Private Security Services Act, Business & Professions Code § 7583.2 now requires a written Incident Report to BSIS within 7 business days of the occurrence of any of the following:

[Note that the new expanding language is underlined.]

  • Discharge of a Firearm.
  • Physical altercation with a member of the public while on duty that results in any of the following:
    • Arrest of a security guard.
    • Filing of a police report by a member of the public.
    • Member of the public requiring any type of first aid or other medical attention.
    • The discharge, suspension, or reprimand of a security guard by their employer.
    • Any physical use of force or violence on any person while on duty.


Vague Terminology

The use of the new vague term, “any physical use of force,” is going to be open to interpretation.  It’s easy to understand that a fist fight, use of a weapon, etc., is a “physical use of force.”  But how about the gray areas?

Does this include a simple hand on the back of the arm guiding someone to an exit?  How about a firm grip?  Does it include moving someone’s hand from in front of an officer’s face?  Does it include putting an arm up as someone approaches an entrance to prevent entry where physical contact is made?

While the terminology may be vague, the impact of the Bureau’s enforcement of this new provision is clear: not only will there be an increase in the frequency of citations for violation of section 7583.2, but there will also be a great increase in the revenue these citations will create for BSIS.


Better to Self-Report?

It will be up to each PPO to determine whether or not an incident qualifies under the new “any physical use of force” terminology, and thus reportable to the Bureau.  Of course, most any report can result in BSIS conducting a further investigation to determine whether any other licensing issues should be addressed. (No PPO wants that to occur.)

Remember, reports should provide sufficient detail, but nothing that can be used against your PPO or your security officer in a civil or criminal matter (if possible).  Although these reports are not automatically discoverable under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), if you end up in litigation, a judge could order the production pursuant to a records subpoena. You are at the mercy of a judge on that given day.

LESSON:  If you’re not sure whether or not to report an incident, that should probably tell you something. (That is, you should probably report it!)  If in doubt, always feel free to call your attorneys for some sage advice.


Barry A. Bradley is the managing partner of Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein LLP where he oversees the firm’s Business and Employment Department and heads up the firm’s Private Security Litigation Team.  A former Deputy District Attorney, Barry’s practice concentrates on licensing, employment and business related issues, defending cases involving negligent security, as well as assisting clients in avoiding liability through proactive, preventative measures.  

The firm acts as general counsel for many security companies in California.  Barry is the Legal Advisor to The California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards & Associates (CALSAGA).

He has been conferred an AV-Preeminent Peer Rating by Martindale Hubbell, the highest rating attainable, and has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer for the past 15 consecutive years in the area of Business Litigation.  Barry is also the recipient of CALSAGA’s Security Professional Lifetime Achievement Award.  818-243-5200.

Our firm is very pleased to announce the promotion of Jaimee K. Wellerstein to equity partner and our name change to Bradley, Gmelich & Wellerstein, LLP. Jaimee will continue to serve as Employment Law Team Head and work with us to shape the future of the firm. Please note our updated email addresses and website URL in your records!



Tony Unfried, CSA360

Seeing as the majority of your competitors undoubtedly offer most, if not all of these services, the most pressing question you need to answer is: What are you doing to improve and make sure your security guard services are keeping pace in a competitive industry? 

Here are three can’t fail suggestions:

1. Maintain Top of Mind Security Offerings by Focusing on Delivery and Quality of Services Provided

A big mistake many security companies make is trying to be all things to all customers. Casting such a wide net not only makes it hard to stand out, but you may find that you’re not focusing attention on your core security strengths.   

It’s important to maintain top of mind security offerings to ensure longevity with your current and future clients. To do this, we recommend the following actions…

  • Ensure your security services meet the needs of your clients. 

Confirming there’s a perfect match between the services you offer and the needs of your clients sounds like an obvious exercise, but it’s worth a closer inspection. 

To ensure that you are offering the right services to meet client needs, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What industry are your current clients part of?
  • What physical security pain points are they trying to alleviate?
  • What level of security expertise does your current team have?
  • Do you have the capacity to expand your services?

The answers to these questions will help you discover your niche services and provide the specialized client support that will make you stand out.

  • Enhance services with improved processes and techniques. 

The combining of new technologies with traditional guard techniques is offering security companies the opportunity to offer enhanced security services. An example of this is remote guarding services, which combines tools like motion alarms and security cameras with random site patrols to provide a dual, and highly effective level of security. 

By continuing to implement enhanced practices, like remote guarding, security companies can improve their processes and techniques. This leads to a more impactful experience and successful partnership for clients. 

  • Provide incident management and proactive response.

Another area that is getting more attention is Incident Management & Responses. In the past, many security companies would run into the problem of being too reactive to incidents and risks instead taking a proactive approach. Utilizing an effective incident management program will keep you ahead of the game and in front of potentially dangerous situations.

2. Build a high-quality team of security guards

In an industry that experiences a high percentage of turnover – between 100% – 300% percent, according to the Service Employees International Union – building and retaining a high-quality team of security guards is imperative to success. To achieve this, we recommend the following…

  • Set high standards for your security team and ensure each guard you hire has the qualifications to meet those standards.
  • Invest in additional training to continue to develop your team’s security skills. This is key in building a strong security guard staff and utilizing client feedback is a great way to determine what type of training will benefit your guards and your firm.
  • Engage and motivate your security team to ensure that you retain them.  This can be achieved by providing competitive pay and implementing incentive programs. 
  • Perform surprise inspections. This gives you the opportunity to provide immediate feedback to resolve issues and/or recognize achievements.
3. Implement Security Operations Software to Take Your Services to the Next Level

While it may have taken the physical security service sector a bit longer, the digital transformation in this space is now in full swing. And the good news is the security operations software available today makes linking the physical and digital security realms easier than ever before. 

All this new security tech is strengthening overall security measures and also allowing the visitor experience to be better prioritized. But it’s important that you choose the software that is right for your firm. 

The security operations software that you choose should allow you to resolve any internal challenges while giving your team the ability to ensure sustained safety and mitigate risks. 

The most effective systems will have the modules and features needed to:

  • Manage risk associated with staffing gaps
  • Manage the staff you have more effectively and efficiently
  • Increase workforce accountability
  • Mitigate risk and liability
  • Implement proactive security procedures
  • Simplify guard tour management
  • Enhance guard communication and transparency
  • Provide comprehensive data analytics and reporting
  • Deploy targeted training to mitigate turnover
  • Increase security guard engagement and retention

At CSA360 Software, we take your security service needs seriously. Our all-in-one security operations management software gives you the tools you need to manage your security options in one place.

Tony Unfried, CEO of CSA360, holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs and Criminal Justice from Indiana University, where he graduated with honors. While enrolled in his master’s program, Tony worked for The TJX Companies, Inc., leading the region in loss prevention and moving the company toward technology use in Security. Tony went on to join the most significant security company in Indiana, managing more than 500 employees and 50 sites, including the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center. Seeing a noticeable gap in technology use in the physical security sector, Tony created his first security software application, launched at the Super Bowl in 2012, and recognized twice for Excellence in Mobile Technology by Techpoint. Tony has also spoken on Tech in Physical Security on panels with ASIS and IAVM.


Shaun Kelly, Tolman & Wiker, Preferred Broker

Hello to all and we hope everyone is doing well!

We have been assisting employers in managing Workers’ Compensation claims for many years. This includes First Aid claims, moderate injuries involving transitioning to light duty to get the employee back to work as soon as possible and assisting with very serious injuries. One part of the process in managing Workers’ Compensation claims that all employers should engage in, is choosing an occupational clinic that works best for you, the employee and the insurance carrier. A designated Occupational Clinic should be selected prior to any injuries. Including all team members handling Workers’ Compensation claims in this process is important. This should also include your insurance broker in order to assist you throughout the claim.

The clinic you choose is an important decision as it sets the tone for the rest of the claim. A well written discharge report will limit options while a poorly written report can leave the door open for further allegations and treatment. The clinic you choose should also help convey how your company cares about its employees.

Things to look for in a clinic:

  1. Look for a clinic who can see your employees during your work hours
  2. Look for a clinic who will keep copies of your job descriptions on file
  3. Look for a clinic who will use MRIs sparingly
  4. Look for a clinic who is responsive to employee needs and has a pleasant bedside manner

Before choosing a clinic you should schedule a time to visit. This will allow you to tour the clinic which will give you an idea of the average wait time, as well as meet some of the doctors. You may also ask the clinic to do an on-site visit of your facility. This will give the clinic a better idea as to what it is you do and what type of job duties your employees have as well as the physical demands of the job.

Things to ask during your visit to the clinic:

  1. What are their hours of operation? Are they open at night and on weekends?
  2. How many locations do they have?
  3. How do they handle return-to-work? Do they try to get injured employees back to modified duties as soon as possible? Do they send work status reports via email to employers as soon as possible? How descriptive do they get in writing work restrictions?
  4. How do they communicate with employers?
  5. Do they do pre-placement medical exams and physical abilities tests?
  6. Do they do drug screening?
  7. How do they handle red-flag cases?
  8. Do they have in-house specialists? Do they have in-house physical therapy, chiropractic services, or a pharmacy?
  9. How do they make sure the injured employee understands what is being told to them during the exam?
  10. Are their doctors bilingual? Do they have interpreters?

Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions .

Shaun Kelly joined Tolman & Wiker Insurance Services in 2005.  He specializes in all lines of property and casualty insurance for industries including contract security firms, agriculture, construction, oil and gas. Shaun received a BS in Business Administration with a major in Finance from California State University in Fresno, California. He is an active member of several industry associations, including the Association CALSAGA, the Kern County Builders Exchange and the Independent Insurance Agents of Kern County. Shaun can be reached at 661-616-4700 or



Tory Brownyard, Brownyard Group

The insurance industry is now experiencing a hard market that experts predict will continue well into 2022. In practical terms, this means security firms, among other businesses and industries, will continue to see rising insurance premiums and may have difficulty obtaining coverage. 

A range of factors have contributed to the hardening insurance market. For security firms planning for the year ahead, understanding the drivers and knowing the risks that concern insurers may help soften the blow and provide better coverage options in the shifting economy. 

What’s driving the hard market 

In a hard market, insurance rates rise as insurers become more risk averse. Some insurers institute stricter underwriting parameters, while others may leave certain markets entirely. An example of this can be found in California where, years ago, many insurers reduced the amount of earthquake coverage they wrote while others stopped providing earthquake insurance entirely. 

For security firms in the U.S., the pandemic, economic uncertainty, rising crime rates and civil unrest in 2020 and 2021 all contributed to the hardening of the security insurance market. One of the primary drivers is large settlements awarded against guard firms. Such settlements, coupled with the risk of active shooter claims, are increasing insurance rates for security firms across the board. 

The security industry saw a respite from active shooter situations throughout 2020 and 2021 due to nationwide lockdowns. However, as lockdowns ended, active shooter concerns began to rise again. For instance, a workplace shooting at a Northern California rail yard in May marked the third such incident in less than two months. In many of these situations, security professionals are often the first line of defense. As such, they face considerable liability.

Another factor driving increased insurance premiums for guard firms is the ongoing trend of asking guards to perform work that is not only outside of their regular duties, but also exposes them to increased risk. For years security guards have been asked to provide additional services such as hospital patient transfer and even janitorial services. The pandemic exacerbated this trend as guards found themselves performing temperature, mask, and vaccination checks. In places such as Los Angeles County, where vaccine mandates are strongly enforced, guards will likely continue to be asked to provide additional services for the foreseeable future. 

If these services are not included in a security firm’s contract and the guard, or those involved with the guard’s actions, are in any way harmed, lack of insurance coverage for those services could expose the firm to considerable liability, as some insurance policies will exclude operations not disclosed to the insurance company.

Additional factors contributing to the hard market include a global increase in the cost of doing business and late claims reporting. The later a claim is reported, the more time sensitive it becomes and the more costly it is to settle. 

Choosing clients carefully

One of the biggest concerns for insurers when it comes to underwriting the security industry are the types of clients taken on by the firm. Security firms that take on clients considered high-risk are seen as having an increased exposure. Clients that fall into the high-risk category are typically those with more public exposure, including sport and concerts venues, shopping malls, and clients that are prone to criminal activity, such as certain medical dispensaries, subsidized housing and payday lenders. 

In addition to paying higher insurance rates, security firms that cater to high-risk clientele might also find it more difficult to get coverage. Some markets are also reducing coverage and introducing exclusions for certain client types such as low-income housing, special events or places serving liquor. 

While the hard market presents challenges to finding affordable and consistent insurance coverage, security firms can take steps to lower their risk exposure. Doing so can contribute to either better costs or access to limited coverage.

What you can do to soften the blow 

Poor contractual language can open the door to security firms assuming responsibility — and potential liability — for actions over which they have no control.  Reviewing contracts to ensure they are clear and transparent can help firms ensure they only accept liability for their own wrongdoing or negligence. Security firms should provide clients with contract language that has been both drafted and approved by the firm’s attorney, as well as reviewed by their insurance provider. Doing so can limit liability when a claim is made and help control the cost of those claims, thus making those security firms more appealing to insurers. 

Another way security firms can reduce the impact of a hard market is by reporting incidents as soon as they happen, even if the security officer is not considered responsible for the incident in question. Through timely reporting, security firms can provide the insurance company with the necessary information to get ahead of the claim and lessen the potential liability from long-tail claims (those that typically carry a long settlement period, high settlement amounts and a lengthy court case) and put themselves in a more defensible position. 

Finally, serving clients with lower risk profiles, such as office buildings, government contracts and industrial clients will lower a security firm’s risk profile. In most cases, insurers view such low risk more favorably because they tend to have a better loss experience. 

As the economy shifts and the need for private security expands, it is more important than ever for security firms to better understand and mitigate liability risks where they can. To accomplish this goal, security firms should work with their insurance partner to better understand their coverage and their potential exposure. This can find greater stability during uncertain times. 

About Tory Brownyard

Brownyard, CPCU, is president of Brownyard Group, an insurance program administrator with specialty programs for select industry groups. In addition to his responsibilities as president, he currently spearheads the Brownguard® security guard insurance program.


Jeff Davis, TEAM Software, CALSAGA Network Partner

As a security contractor, you’re well aware the current labor market is pretty crazy. You’ve got a lot stacked against you, and you’re not alone. National applicant trends across industries aren’t keeping up with those of hiring. That’s a problem for your hiring efforts. So, how do you attract applicants to your open jobs?  

First things first. 

Promote your jobs. Due to the lack of job seekers, employers have sponsored more job listings on job boards, leading to an all-out bidding war. With placements coming at a premium, companies have had to aggressively increase their job board spending budget to remain visible. Before you start throwing money around, though, consider your options. 

Diversify your applicant search. One source of job postings may garner lots of applicant volume, but with low quality. This means you may end up with candidates in your hiring funnel who have little interest in being there or who aren’t qualified. Or, the opposite may be true. A job board could only generate a sliver of applicant volume, but with applicants who are highly qualified with long-term retention potential at your company. Evaluate what your KPIs are in the hiring process and parcel out your advertising process accordingly. Then make postings on job boards based on those KPI goals. 

Next up, marketing. 

One of the best ways to improve your candidate quality is by improving your job listing. If the listing is unclear, people won’t apply. If it is misrepresentative of work tasks, you could have officers apply, begin work, then decide the job isn’t right for them and turn over quickly. Speak to what’s unique about your company, what might make it a good fit for the right candidates, and why people should be excited to join your team. Highlight benefits, even if you can’t afford to pay rates as high as some of your competitors. Unique benefits could attract candidates who might otherwise skip based on wage criteria alone. Make each listing easy to read and quick to process and use social media to increase job visibility. 

Look beyond the obvious. 

The truth is, COVID-19 has changed the hiring landscape. Even if changes aren’t permanent, it’s possible we could see continued impact on when and how applicants return to the hiring market. Even as applicants do return, there could be a shift in who is coming back to what jobs. As a result, you may need to rethink the type of candidate you’re trying to attract, and how you move them through your hiring process. Make it speedy. Quick apply tools and ATS systems with data capture help gather applicant information, meaning you have a larger pool of candidates to draw from, even if they aren’t able to complete an application in full. Move even quicker by keying in on what really matters to your open jobs and focusing on collecting secondary information, like historical job information past a few years ago. 

Whatever you do, don’t ghost. 

You know how hard it is to source and hire qualified applicants to join your team. It’s a whole other challenge to actually convert a new-hire into a member of your security workforce who stays on past sixty days. It’s not uncommon to hire a new employee, then have that employee “ghost” you, or never show up, before day one. 

Knowing this is a challenge for your security business, it’s imperative that you as the hiring agent also doesn’t ghost your potential employees, either. Don’t leave applicants in the hiring funnel too long. Don’t ignore potential candidates, or waste time holding out on an offer. While you still want to find a candidate who is a good fit, gone are the days that afforded you time to be super selective in your hiring tactics — at least for now. If you don’t move quickly, your competitors will. 

Keep these “get” strategies in mind as you enter into 2022. It’s likely the hiring market will continue to keep us on our toes as current challenges evolve, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. And, don’t forget to focus on your retention efforts, too. Once you have the right officer on your payroll, you want to do everything you can to keep them. 

Jeff Davis was president of Kwantek, a recruiting and onboarding software provider acquired by TEAM Software, the leading provider of integrated financial, operations and workforce management software for cleaning and security contractors, in 2020. Since joining TEAM, Jeff is the VP of Strategic Growth North America, acting as a subject matter expert and thought leader for TEAM in the security and cleaning industries and assisting with global sales and marketing initiatives. For the last 20 years, Jeff has focused on technology, working in sales and marketing to executive leadership, with four years specializing in human resources technology. He has an MBA focusing on Information Systems from Tennessee Tech and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Louisville.


Brandy Tomasek, TEAM Software, Network Partner

There’s no doubt you’ve heard something described as the “meat and potatoes” before. The saying refers to the most basic or fundamental aspects of something. For your security company, the meat and potatoes of your business are your jobs. But keeping your security jobs profitable is a challenge. Especially, when labor and overhead costs are on the rise due to added costs of the pandemic.

The challenge: staying profitable when you’re up against tight margins. 

In an industry where profit margins are already thin, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room to dip into your profits to offset new and increased costs. So, it’s especially important to maintain a clear and accurate picture of your profitability at all times. It’s likely you’re managing your business to some degree with technology. But, have you factored in job costing? If you’re not actively allocating costs down the job level, you’re missing the “meat and potatoes” of your profitability opportunities. 

It should be a given that if a particular revenue or expense exists in accordance with a contract, then it should be included in your job costing. But the real challenge is getting accurate numbers and recording them down to the job level. Typically, costs you should be allocating per job include labor costs, payroll taxes, workers compensation, general liability insurance, umbrella insurance, supplies, materials, fuel, vehicles and more.

The solution: gaining visibility into profits at the job level. 

Job costing strategies aren’t one-size-fits all. To maximize your competitive advantage, security companies should be leveraging job costing opportunities that look at costs in detail at the job level. Oftentimes, it can look like a job is profitable when seen from the 1,000-foot view. But when you dig into some of the expenses coded to overhead jobs, you find some of those larger, true cost overhead expenses are what make up a good chunk of costs at the job level, too. 

For example, worker’s compensation typically isn’t expensed down to the job level because it’s hard to manage. Depending on the specific services you provide, worker’s compensation could be more costly than specific payroll taxes. So, if you aren’t accounting a portion of worker’s compensation expenses as a cost per job, you aren’t getting an accurate picture at what it took from your expense budget to service that contract.

As a security industry leader, it’s important to properly allocate your true job costs. Here are some tips to keep in mind when exploring job costing opportunities: 

  1. Make sure you have a way for every financial transaction processed to include a job number. Including everything from payroll, to accounts receivable, accounts payable and adjusted journal entries — no detail is too small. 
  2. Look for additional features that allow for payroll taxes and miscellaneous insurance costs to be taken down to the job level, based on payroll dollars at that specific job. 
  3. Establish review processes to compare data collected to budgets for an accurate gauge of profitability. 

Once you complete these tasks, you should be holding on to some solid, irrefutable data with insights into your true job costs. And as you evaluate contracts or bid for future work, you can use this as solid testimony backing up any negotiations or changes in SLAs. And, keep in mind job costing is an ongoing process. A job that’s profitable at one time could become unprofitable as SLAs change over time, or supply costs fluctuate. 

So, are you job costing? Are you doing so correctly? Do you analyze the data and put it in action? As a security company, you need to be asking yourself these important meat and potato questions to know whether you have a clear view of your profitability.


Brandy Tomasek joined TEAM Software in 2016. She’s a part of the Professional Services team, working as a Sr. Business Consultant. Prior to joining TEAM, Brandy earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Marketing, as well as her MBA in Organizational Leadership. Brandy’s professional experience spans a range of disciplines from management and leadership, to training and accounting. In her free time, Brandy enjoys spending time with her family, training their puppy and DIY everything.


Debbie Howlett, TrackTik, Network Partner

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, many previously low-risk workplaces are now at a higher risk for workplace violence. Many people frustrated by mask mandates, social distancing restrictions, and endless line-ups have resulted in a population with hair-trigger tempers. Some workplaces are recognized to be at significantly greater risk than others, like healthcare facilities. An emergency room in San Leandro, California, recently went into lockdown when a visitor, frustrated by Covid-19 restrictions, threatened to bring a gun into the hospital. 

However, workplace violence in healthcare was already on the rise pre-pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reports that in 2019, 47% of emergency department physicians reported being physically assaulted during work, and 71% of nurses reported experiencing sexual harassment at the hands of patients. This year, according to the National Nurses Union (NNU), a recent nationwide survey of more than 5,000 registered nurses, 31% of hospital RNs said that they faced a small or significant increase in workplace violence, up from 22 percent since March 2021.

An unfortunate silver lining to the pandemic has allowed hospitals to review their safety protocols. Across the U.S., hospitals and other facilities have installed more security cameras and video surveillance, limited entry points to monitor visitors more closely, and hired additional security officers. They have also provided de-escalating training, equipped staff with Bluetooth-enabled panic buttons, and in some cases, brought in K9 patrols. 

Security Officers at Risk

At present, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) only has rules that regulate workplace violence in the healthcare industry. Still, there are no regulations covering workplace violence in other sectors. The Cal/OSHA Guidelines for Workplace Security have been in circulation since March 1995, so workplace violence has been a concern for a long time in California. The guidelines include specific factors that may put employers at a higher risk for violence, many of which are characteristic of the role security officers play in the workplace, such as:

  • Lone workers
  • Security officers transporting money between financial institutions
  • Armed security officers at cannabis dispensaries and plants
  • Safety ambassadors at healthcare facilities
  • Public safety officers in communities and cities
  • Public-facing security officers enforcing mask mandates and social distancing rules

Identifying Workplace Security Issues 

Many workplaces are at risk for workplace violence, but specific workplaces are significantly more at risk than others. Therefore, every employer should perform an initial assessment to identify workplace security issues. The security assessment should begin with a physical tour of the workplace in question, a review of security procedures already in place to identify any potential vulnerabilities. 

As you tour the workplace, consider the following ten questions: 

  • Where could someone easily access the building? 
  • Are potential entrances secured? 
  • Is there any form of access control upon entering the building? Is identification required? 
  • What is the procedure for visitors to the building? 
  • Have potential escape routes been explored in the event of a threat? 
  • Is the building a shared space? Do other tenants share your security concerns? 
  • Are there blind corners, hedges, or unlit areas where someone might hide? 
  • Are all the gates and fences surrounding the building secure with no gaps? 
  • Is the parking area well lit and maintained? 
  • Are doors left open and unlocked? 

Crafting the Workplace Security Plan

Once the workplace tour is complete, create a workplace security plan using the information you collected. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all security plan that employers can download and implement. Every employer needs a plan tailored to its particular environment and takes company culture, physical layout, resources, and management styles into account. 

Craft your security plan with the following suggestions in mind. 

Secure your workplace – Consider using physical barriers likes fences and gates, access control systems, door locks, and video surveillance. 

Create an access control plan – Use keys that cannot be replicated, electronic access cards, or a biometric option like fingerprint, palm print, or iris scanning. Provide badges for visitors. 

Contract security officers – Hire security officers to perform foot or mobile patrols and checkpoint tours. Officers can also assist with visitor screening and monitoring access control systems. 

Position security cameras where you need them – Security surveillance is key to monitoring who enters and exits the building at all times. 

Provide good lighting – Make sure that employee entrances and exits are located in well-lit areas, and interiors, corridors, stairwells, and parking lots are illuminated. 

Consider using alarms – Ensure that entrances and exits are equipped with alarm systems that warn employees if unauthorized individuals try to enter the building. 

Create a map of the building – Identify entrances and exits, stairwells, doors, and security cameras. It will help you determine where to deploy extra security, video surveillance, and extra lighting. 

Review and revise your security plan – The review should ensure that doors are closed or locked, the locks are working, and security officers properly screen visitors. 

Redesigning aspects of your workplace can reduce the likelihood of violence and keep your security officers and the people and facilities or institutions they protect secure. Consider revisiting your security plan today with some of these suggestions.

Debbie Howlett

Debbie is an experienced writer with a demonstrated history of working in the security industry. She is based in Montreal, Canada, with TrackTik—a dynamic and cutting-edge tech company that sells cloud-based security workforce management software.
Twitter: @TrackTik