agency’s office and stabbing an employee in the hand.
According to reports by Fairfax Media, the man entered the office and began yelling threats, including one that he was going to kill someone.
Police will reportedly state in court that he subsequently stabbed the woman before being wrestled to the ground by clients and a member of staff.
The attacker did not know the employee who he stabbed, and was reportedly under assessment for mental health issues.
A client who was in Max Solutions’ office at the time told Fairfax that although the office was full of employees, around 20 employees raced into an adjoining room and closed the door, leaving their colleague and clients in the room with the attacker.
“There was no one in charge, the staff didn't know what to do, other than to take care of themselves,” he said.
“It was terrifying. Finally an internal security guard almost ambled in, and the police turned up after that.”
spoke to Leveasque Peterson, partner at Lander & Rogers, about employers’ obligations when it comes to preparing staff for responding to emergencies.
There are no work health and safety laws that require employers to provide training to their employees specifically relating to emergencies, although some high risk environments like major hazard facilities do have requirements for systems to incorporate emergencies.
“Generally, an employer’s obligation is to ensure a safe workplace, and that incorporates situations of emergencies,” Peterson told HC
She added that different industries have different risk profiles.
“Some sectors are inherently more risky,” Peterson explained.
She gave an example of health workers who come into contact with patients prone to violent behaviour – but added that this was a “sharp contrast” to office workers.
“A good employer will have a comprehensive employee induction,” Peterson continued.
“They will always provide instruction on what to do should an emergency arise in their workplace. This would ordinarily be tailored to suit the risk profile at that workplace.”
Emergency response training
“I don’t think you can ever train people to handle an emergency,” Peterson told HC
“By nature emergencies are panic situations that could have a variety of different outcomes. You can only equip employees with information on what to realistically expect.”
“If there is a higher prevalence of occupational violence or some other kind of emergency, it might be useful to consider training employees on how to diffuse those incidents.”
However, she emphasises that emergencies should always be treated as a situation where employees retreat and take themselves away to a place of safety.
“Often police reinforce this when we hear the ‘hero’ stories,” Peterson said.
“Heroic efforts make a great story, but those people have placed themselves at risk by acting this way. Retreating is often better option and employers need to keep that in mind.”
She added that another thing to remember was that employees must always remain the number one priority in emergencies.
“Property damage and business interruption is an inconvenience, but these losses are all insurable. Safety is priceless, and that has to be the first port of call.”
Last week, a man was arrested after entering a Darlinghurst