Lowell, MA – On Wednesday, January 6, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, in partnership with Middlesex Community College, hosted a Workplace Safety Conference that trained over 300 public and private sector employees on the issue of workplace violence. The conference focused on strategies for effective prevention, intervention and responses.
To date, District Attorney Ryan’s Workplace Safety Program has educated over 2,000 individuals across an array of employment areas including healthcare, higher education, finance, human services, and public safety.
“We have received a significant increase in requests for workplace safety trainings and support,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Unfortunately, some of that has been sparked by more and more cases of workplace violence in the news. The most important point we try to stress in these conferences is that prevention through preparedness is both essential and critical.”
District Attorney Ryan has hosted 25 workplace safety conferences and seminars since beginning the county-wide program and 2012. These programs focus on identifying common risk factors, developing effective mechanisms for information sharing, establishing sound policies and programs, and creating an office culture of zero-tolerance for inappropriate behavior.
After hearing from subject matter experts including: Attorney Terry Downes, the Executive Director of the Program on Homeland Security at Middlesex Community College; Jean Haertl, President of Safety and Respect at Work, LLC; and Keith Jones, Director of Corporate Security at The Charles Start Draper Laboratory, participants were given the opportunity to work through case studies based, in part, on actual scenarios that have occurred in Middlesex County. The breakout sessions allowed participants to review and respond to incidents of harassment, aggression and violence in working groups. This activity is designed to highlight the importance of communicating and collaborating across different departments and disciplines when creating workplace policies and protocols.
Attorney Terry Downes, Executive Director of the Middlesex Community College Program on Homeland Security, said the college was delighted to partner with District Attorney Ryan on this conference. “With homicide now the fourth most common cause of workplace-related deaths across the country, it’s more important than ever that employers collaborate with one another and with public officials to share best practices in building safe workplace environments. And, when violence threatens or occurs, to have plans in place to respond quickly, effectively and comprehensively.”
District Attorney Marian Ryan developed the MDAO Workplace Safety and Violence Prevention Program in response to escalating incidents of violence in the workplace. The initiative is a unique public/private partnership which provides training in best practices for intervention, prevention and response to unacceptable workplace behavior, including bullying and acts of violence. The program advocates for the implementation of an infrastructure in workplaces to ensure that staff are prepared to respond safely in the event of workplace violence.