Workplace safety and the dramatic increase in mass shooting events is causing all of us concern. Cal/OSHA is considering a new regulation requiring violence prevention plans for all employers in CA.  This will be the topic CalWorkSafety & HR covers in our August 18 webcast via zoom at 10 am. The following story indicates how Starbucks is responding to these concerns.

Executives acknowledge workplace safety challenges and what the coffee chain must do to protect workers against potential workplace violence incidents from customers and the communities they operate in.

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, announced that it would close 16 of its more than 15,000 stores in the U.S. later this month because of safety concerns. The Wall Street Journal reports the company will close six stores in Seattle; six stores in Los Angeles; two stores in Portland, Ore.; one store in Philadelphia; and one store in Washington, D.C.

Actions Starbucks will take in the coming weeks to help employees feel safer at work. This includes:

  • Holding safety training for employees, including how to de-escalate situation, active shooter training and mental health first aid trainings.
  • Developing policies and procedures that address when to call 911, how to engage local community resources or social services to support customers in need, protest preparedness and more.
  • Designing stores that feel safe and welcoming. When needed, Stroud and Nelson write stores can adjust their “formats, furniture layouts, hours of operation, staffing and other site-specific solutions like restroom occupancy sensors, new alarm systems, Lyft at work, or partnering with local Outreach Workers.”
  • Modifying operations when safety is no longer possible. This includes closing a restroom—a reversal of a 2018 policy that made restrooms available to anyone, not just customers—or even a store permanently.
  • Providing benefits to support workers’ mental health such as Lyra sessions and Headspace, paid sick time and free counselors at stores following an event.
  • Providing benefits to support workers’ emotional and financial safety such as assistance with college tuition, fertility treatments, adoption, access to abortions or gender affirming procedures, DACA fees and other benefits such as paid parental leave and catastrophe pay.