Workplaces Safer Now – for the Most Part

September 6, 2002 ( - Most workers are safer in the office than they were before September 11, but security procedures are still inconsistently enforced at some smaller employers, according to a new study.

A national survey taken for The Hartford Financial Service Group found that many companies – particularly those with less than 20 workers – are not consistent in trying to keep their workspaces free of violence and other safety problems.

The survey showed that between December 2001 and July 2002, the number of unauthorized visitors entering workplaces dropped from 32% to 13%. The decline was consistent throughout the country, possibly due to a 15% increase in the number of companies instituting ID requirements or hiring security personnel during that period, researchers said.

The researchers pointed out that shortly after September 11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks, employers rushed to institute or increase their security measures.

Other survey findings:

  • companies with procedures for handling suspicious mail or packages skyrocketed from 17% before September 11 to 49% in December
  • companies holding regular emergency evacuation drills increased from 56% to 60%
    those with procedures to control serious threats and/or physical violence increased from 51% to 58%
  • companies screening visitors rose from 51% to 60%.

As time passed, though, many companies became less rigorous in carrying out these new procedures. Only 58% of the respondents in companies that have security measures in place report that those measures are being consistently enforced, the survey discovered.

Of particular concern is the lack of security measures among smaller companies, defined as those with between three and 20 employees. These businesses were significantly less likely than larger companies to have security measures in place, the survey found.

While 71% of midsize and larger companies had screening procedures to keep out unauthorized visitors, only 40% of small companies do.

Similarly only 34% of smaller companies have procedures for screening suspicious packages and mail compared to 57% of larger businesses; 49% of smaller vs. 63% of larger companies have ways to deter violence in the workplace and 45% vs. 68% hold emergency evacuation drills.

The nationally study surveyed 486 adults working in companies with three or more people. It was conducted between July 25 and August. 1, 2002 by, an online research company.