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Security in the Workplace - Informational Material

General information for use in addressing security in the workplace issues (office security, physical security in a front-line office, and a checklist for telephone bomb threats).


Government offices can be targets for theft, unlawful entry, kidnapping, bombings, forcible occupation and sabotage. Effective barriers, both physical and psychological can reduce the likelihood of these threats. The following guidelines will help you analyze your office security profile and suggest measures to reduce your target potential.

Conduct a Crime Prevention Assessment - A complete, professional assessment of your security needs is the first step toward an effective security program. Your nearest Federal Protective Service (FPS) office can arrange a risk assessment be performed on your government-owned or leased office or building. (See FPS Organization and Points of Contact).

Since most crimes are directed toward individuals or offices that have little or no security planning in place. Take stock of your present measures and possible weak points. A comprehensive crime prevention assessment should ask:

Take Reasonable Precautions - Once the risk assessment has been completed, follow up with the FPS (or local law enforcement group) to act on the findings. For example, publicize phone numbers and make sure everyone knows whom to contact in case of an emergency.

Here are some general suggestions that may increase your security:

Keep an Executive Information File - Your security office should maintain an emergency contact file for immediate access for key personnel containing personal information to be used in case of emergency. This confidential file should contain:

Consider Setting Up Secure Areas in the Building - You may wish to consider maintaining one or more "secure rooms" on your work premises. This area can serve as a retreat in case of intrusion or other danger. The room should be equipped with:


If your office is a Federal "front-line" office with direct "employee-to-customer" service, your office and building should be designed according to Federal Protective Service security guidelines.
If your agency does not have security procedures in place, the head of your agency may want to ask a regional GSA Federal Protective Service office to conduct a physical security survey to ensure that employees are working in a safe and secure environment. (See FPS Organization and Points of Contact).

Before requesting a security survey, your agency may want to do a "crime assessment" of the risks you and your coworkers may encounter in your workplace. Are your customers likely to experience high levels of stress or tension? Do members of the general public who come into the office tend to be argumentative? Have there been threats or incidents of violence involving the public in the past? Or have Federal employees themselves become violent or threatening?

If your front-line public service office fits this profile, your agency needs to take immediate steps to help make your workplace fully secure. Following are some suggestions on improving security in your office and/or building.

Physical Security Features in a Customer Service Federal Office

             Single public entrance to customer service area.

Physical Security Survey - A major goal of GSA's Federal Protective Service is to provide better protection for Federal employees and visitors by pinpointing high-risk areas in Federal buildings where potential problems or emergency situations might occur. This is accomplished through a "Physical Security Survey" conducted by a certified GSA physical security specialist. The survey is a comprehensive, detailed, technical on-site inspection and analysis of the current security and physical protection conditions.

Source: U.S. General Services Administration

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