How to Prepare for & Respond to Critical Incidents

How to Improve Workplace Safety in Critical Incidents

Enhancing Workplace Safety
in 3 Crucial Steps

Recent events have prompted many workplaces to consider their level of safety. As an employer, you may be questioning, ‘Are we prepared?’ and ‘How would we respond to a critical incident?’

Nobody should ever feel unsafe in their workplace, but this is the reality we face. While these topics can be distressing, they are important. In preparing employees, we gain the confidence to approach challenging situations effectively. This enhances team consistency and safety, ultimately leading to happier employees.

At Resolution Education, we are driven by the desire for workplace safety. This is why we develop the training programs we do. This blog post further reinforces our message and if you need guidance on proactive measures for your workplace, continue reading.

Should You Get Involved?

When faced with a critical workplace incident, the first question must always be, ‘Is it safe for me to get involved?’ While we may be driven by an instinct to immediately step in, it is important that we assess the situation first.

Instincts are powerful, so building a workplace culture where employees can voice their instincts is important. By acknowledging and openly discussing these instincts, we cultivate a proactive workplace.

However, rushing into a potentially hazardous situation or placing oneself in jeopardy is discouraged. Sustaining an injury during intervention renders one unable to assist others. Additionally, diverting attention to attend to your injuries could detract from effectively managing the incident.

A good strategy when multiple people are involved is to remove the least aggressive people, including yourself. Once returned to safety, you can take additional measures to get involved such as contacting authorities and providing support to others.

3 Crucial Steps for Workplace Safety

To improve the safety of your workplace, proactive measures are crucial. By implementing the steps outlined here, you can foster a workplace environment where your team feels supported, confident, and secure.

Step 1: Conduct Risk Assessments

Begin by thoroughly evaluating the organisation’s current state, including the physical environment, inherent risks, and established protocols. Identify strengths and areas for improvement. Additionally, take into account external influences such as community dynamics or environmental factors.

Involve stakeholders from various teams and departments within the organisation to gain diverse perspectives on potential risks and existing protocols.

Take advantage of this opportunity to review past incidents and near misses. Analysing historical data enables you to identify trends, patterns, and any systemic issues.

Once hazards are identified, prioritise them based on risk level and potential impact on the organisation’s operations, employees, and consumers.

Step 2: Develop Comprehensive Emergency Response Plans

After risks have been identified and the environment thoroughly assessed, the next crucial step is to develop a comprehensive response plan. This plan ensures that all staff members understand their roles in a crisis and the procedures to follow. An effective emergency response plan should encompass a wide range of potential emergencies.

Begin by establishing a dedicated emergency response team composed of key personnel. The specific roles and responsibilities that we train on at Resolution Education include the Communicator who attempts to de-escalate the heightened person; the Observer who keeps a careful eye on the situation and alerts for additional help, e.g. from the police; and the Controllers who control the environment, e.g. opening and closing doors, and managing any onlookers.

Next, establish clear protocols, including lockdown procedures, evacuation routes, and assembly points. Ensure that the evacuation routes are well-marked and easily navigable, leading to designated safe areas for people to gather.

Specify communication channels for employees to report incidents, including any designated code words or phrases for discreet alerts.

Step 3: Participate in Ongoing Training and Education

The final crucial step is to conduct regular reviews and drills of lockdowns and evacuation procedures. This helps organisations assess their level of preparation and response times and identify any gaps in their emergency response plans. By doing so, organisations can make necessary adjustments to improve their procedures, ultimately leading to faster recovery and minimising the severity of incidents.

Professional training and education play a vital role in ensuring staff members are well-equipped to handle emergencies effectively. Through specialised training programs offered by experts in the field, organisations can empower their employees with the knowledge and skills needed to respond confidently and decisively in crises.

In the Event of an Armed Offender

An armed offender event is one of the most serious incidents an organisation can face. These incidents require swift and decisive action to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Advice on approaching these incidents is as follows:

  • Assess the situation carefully, listen to your instincts, and communicate any concerns with colleagues.
  • Avoid confrontation and move to a secure location.
  • Alert authorities once in a safe place – provide as much detail as possible and follow their instructions.
  • Follow established organisational emergency response plans. This may include alerting others, evacuating the premises, or initiating a lockdown procedure.
  • If unable to escape danger, protect yourself and others by hiding behind solid objects, barricading doors, and using improvised weapons for self-defence as a last resort.

Post-Incident Support

Emergency situations have a profound impact on those involved. Therefore, organisations should prioritise post-incident support for employees. This includes acknowledging the emotional and psychological toll of traumatic events and providing resources for coping and support.

Implementing effective debriefing processes allows employees to express their feelings and concerns in a safe environment, fostering healing and resilience. Additionally, encouraging employees to utilise counselling and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) is important, as it can provide valuable support.

Overall, cultivating a culture of empathy and support among employees strengthens team cohesion and reinforces the significance of seeking assistance when facing challenges.


In conclusion, preparing for and responding to a critical incident takes careful and decisive action. Professional training and guidance can greatly enhance team cohesion and organisational protocols.Top of Form

Resolution Education is dedicated to ensuring safer workplaces. Our training experts have the skills and knowledge to assist your organisation and establish a safer and more confident workforce in the face of challenges. We have developed two training programs to address these incidents, they are our Critical Incident Training course and our Active Armed Offender Training course.

Please reach out if you would like to discuss our training packages, policy reviews, or environmental assessments. We are eager to help set your team up for success.Bottom of Form

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