Is the workplace a warm, welcoming environment where peace andsecurity reign? Or is it, in fact, an accident or a disaster waitingto happen, with villains lurking around every corner and no one incharge when something goes wrong?

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A CareerBuilder poll, conducted by Harris Poll, says yes toboth.

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Most workers polled say they felt safe and secure at work, butwhen pressed about the details of that safety and security, theyrevealed dark thoughts and fears that lingered just below thesurface.

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With results from more than 3,000 respondents, CareerBuildersaid its main takeaway was that workers may enjoy a false sense ofsecurity when on the job.

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“The vast majority of workers (93 percent) feel their office isa secure place to work,” the survey reports. “But is this sense ofsecurity misguided? Fewer than half of workers (37 percent)say they have a security guard at their workplace, and 1 in 5 (22percent) are unsure how they would protect themselves in the caseof an emergency in their office that posed a physical threat.”

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Fears bubbled up when the pollsters posed specific queries aboutworkplace security. Among the findings:

  • 17 percent do not feel their workplaces are well-protected incase of a fire, flood, or other disaster;

  • 22 percent don't believe their companies have emergency plans inplace should such events occur;

  • 19 percent do not feel their workplaces are well-protected fromweather-related threats;

  • 26 percent do not think their companies have an emergency planin place if they were ever faced with extremely severe weather;

  • 31 percent do not feel their workplace is well-protected from aphysical threat from another person;

  • 41 percent do not believe their company has an emergency plan inplace in event of a physical attack from another person;

  • 31 percent do not feel their workplaces are well-protected froma digital hacking threat;

  • 39 percent do not feel their companies have an emergency plan inplace in the event of a technology security breach.

"As an employer, you have an obligation to protect youremployees by every means possible, and having an emergency plan inplace to deal with unforeseen events is part of that," saysRosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder."However, an emergency plan is only as good as how well it iscommunicated. It is crucial that employees not only know about thisplan, but have easy access to it and participate in regular drillsso they know how to protect themselves and others."

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.