Workplace Violence Turnstiles

One use of security systems is to prevent violent episodes at work. Workplace violence can occur for a number of reasons. A common image people have regarding workplace violence is a disgruntled, gun-toting man returning to his former employer to take vengeance. While these events are a reality, workplace violence comes from other sources as well. Domestic disputes can spill over into the workplace. Demonstrations against an organization may become uncontrolled, resulting in property damage and concerns about violent reactions.

Even when violence, or the threat of violence, has no physical impact, companies can suffer from the negative effects violence has on employees’ morale and their ability to perform their job duties. When such events become part of public discourse through the media, the reputation of a company may suffer.

According to 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 there were 703 counts of “violence and other injuries by persons or animals” in the workplace. The good news is that this is a decrease of 62 counts of violence in 2014. The bad news? 2015’s number included 417 homicides, a two percent increase over the prior year.

Domestic Violence

In general, 27.3% of American women are subject to domestic violence. Of the 61 female workplace homicide victims in 2015, 43% were killed by a relative or domestic partner. Arguments and physical fighting that start at home do not always stay at home. Sometimes the attacker will not be satisfied with a parking lot confrontation at the workplace. People have entered buildings and offices to continue the fight. Sometimes these situations turn violent.


Businesses may find themselves at odds with sectors of the general public. In one incident, protesters entered the main floor of a building occupied by a financial institution. Their plan was to not only protest the firm, but also to prevent business from being conducted. The protesters did successfully disrupt banking transactions that day. Fortunately, no one was hurt — but more could have been done to keep out the unwanted trespassers.

Preventing Unauthorized Access

There are a myriad of physical and electronic access control devices that ensure only employees or authorized visitors can enter an office building, industrial facility, or warehouse. Some may require the person to swipe or scan a security badge or require the entrant to possess a pin or password.

When an access control option is integrated with a barrier system, such as a turnstile, security is greatly increased. Turnstiles create a physical barrier that cannot be circumvented without drawing attention to the malevolent intruder. Special options can be added to increase the effectiveness of a turnstile. A full-height turnstile prevents someone from “jumping” the turnstile. Optical turnstiles prevent “tailgating.” Tailgating occurs when an unauthorized person closely follows someone who is legitimately passing through the turnstile. These optical turnstiles use infrared beams and receptors to detect when more than one person has entered on a single authorization. Lights and alarms are then activated to notify security.

While there is no way to completely prevent workplace violence, there are steps security managers can take to minimize incidents. Integrating a security turnstile into an access control system that involves security personnel and mental detectors is part of the solution. When used properly, there is less possibility that a workplace will turn into a crime scene. The loss of productivity, lowered morale, and negative publicity that result from a violent incident negatively impact operations. Keeping employees safe is a smart business decision.