Government updates Terror advice for employers to keep workplaces safe

Everyone at HR News would like to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to all the victims and everyone affected by the Manchester bombing on Monday evening.

Unfortunately following the shocking and horrendous attack, the UK’s status has now being raised to ‘Critical’, meaning an attack is imminent.  Unfortunately this means that UK citizens now need to be more alert to the possibility that we could be affected by a terror attack.  In response to this, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NACTSO) have once again updated their safety advice for employers:

A spokesman said:

“It is important that businesses reassure their staff to ensure they are alert, but not alarmed. This is the right moment for businesses to review their security plans to ensure that the measures they should already have in place, are still current and have been tested to ensure staff are prepared and confident. For more information and advice on protecting your business or organisation from the terrorist threat visit the NACTSO website.”


Here are the key points NACTSO are asking all employers to check:

Preparing your workplace

First Aid

Are your first aid kits and crisis incident kits (grab bags) checked regularly, complete and accessible? Link to citizenAid

Search Planning

Do you have plans to search your site to deal effectively with either bomb threats or for secreted threat items, and are your staff familiar with those plans?

Do you have a person and vehicle, search and screening policy and plan that you can implement should there be a threat increase?

Business as usual search and screen (looking for prohibited items) should, when done well, provide a very good capability to detect larger terrorist items concealed about the person

  • ensure the search and screening regime in place at the venue is done well
  • consider provisional search and screening on the approach or outside the venue, for example a visual check inside jackets and bags
  • ensure you maintain your search and patrol regime for the lifecycle of the event including prior to the commencement, during and post event
  • provide effective public address messaging of people as they approach, asking people to prepare for additional search and screening. This should reduce unacceptable delay
  • prior notification (at point of sale or media) of these extra security measures and encouraging people to arrive early, will smooth peaks and allow safe and effective searching


Have you reviewed your evacuation, invacuation and lockdown plans in response to terrorist attack?

Physical Security

Have you checked CCTV systems? Are they all working correctly? Are the date/time stamps accurate?

Security Culture

Are all staff identifiable and wearing identification? Do you encourage staff to challenge anyone in their building not displaying ID?

Personnel security, good guarding practice

Depending upon their responsibilities an effective security guard must be able to demonstrate they can respond effectively to a number of scenarios including:

Mail Handling, Deliveries, Safe Storage of Chemicals & Protecting Company Vehicles

The advice issued previously remains active, and employers should familiarise themselves with and follow the procedures laid out in

Should a Terror Threat arise in your workplace:


ETHANE – information which will help responders:

 Initial actions at a terrorist major incident

Exact Location

  • Confirm nearest junction or exact address
  • Geographic size of the incident

Type of Incident

  • Explosion, building collapse, firearms incident etc.


  • Identify the hazards present or suspected (such as number of hostiles, types of weapons etc.)
  • Consider potential or secondary devices
  • Is evacuation or invacuation necessary and safe?

Access Routes

  • Update with routes that are safe to use
  • Clarify routes which are blocked
  • Nominate and search the RVP

Number of Casualties

  • List type and severity
  • Approximate number of dead, injured, survivors and witnesses

Emergency Services

  • List those Services present and those required
  • Conduct a joint dynamic hazard assessment with the emergency services

Suspicious items – Guidance for the public

  • Do not touch
  • Try and identify an owner in the immediate area
  • If you still think it’s suspicious, don’t feel embarrassed or think anybody else will report it
  • Report it to a member of staff, security, or if they are not available dial 999 (do not use your mobile phone in the immediate vicinity)
  • Move away to a safe distance – Even for a small item such as a briefcase move at least 100m away from the item starting from the centre and moving out

Suspicious items – Apply the 4c’s – Guidance for staff

1. CONFIRM if an item exhibits recognisably suspicious characteristics.  The HOT protocol may be used to inform your judgement:-


  • Has the item been deliberately concealed or is it obviously hidden from view?

OBVIOUSLY suspicious?

  • Does it have wires, circuit boards, batteries, tape, liquids or putty-like substances visible?
  • Do you think the item poses an immediate threat to life?

TYPICAL Is the item typical of what you would expect to find in this location?

  • Most lost property is found in locations where people congregate. Ask if anyone has left the item

If the item is assessed to be unattended rather than suspicious, examine further before applying lost property procedures.

However, if H-O-T leads you to believe the item is suspicious, continue to apply the 4Cs:

2. CLEAR the immediate area

  • Do not touch it
  • Take charge and move people away to a safe distance. Even for a small item such as a briefcase move at least 100m away from the item starting from the centre and moving out
  • Keep yourself and other people out of line of sight of the item. It is a broad rule, but generally if you cannot see the item then you are better protected from it
  • Think about what you can hide behind. Pick something substantial and keep away from glass such as windows and skylights
  • Cordon off the area

How big should Blast Cordons be?

Remember to stay away from glass and out of line of sight for any devices. See the minimum cordon distances. Once the security services arrive cordons may be deployed, in the meantime, employers should evacuate to the following minimum distances.

100 meters – Briefcase or Rucksack

200 meters – Suitcase, wheelie bin, small car

400 meters – Larger items, lorries and vans


3. COMMUNICATE – Call 999

  • Inform your control room and/or supervisor
  • Do not use radios within 15 metres


4. CONTROL access to the cordoned area

  • Members of the public should not be able to approach the area until it is deemed safe
  • Try and keep eyewitnesses on hand so they can tell police what they saw

Run, Tell, Hide

If caught up within an armed situation, Government advice remains to follow the Run, Hide, Tell guidelines previously issued.


More advice

If you see anything that causes you concern or raises your suspicions do not hesitate to call the Police confidentially on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency 999.

NaCTSO will continue to update advice as needed, and employers can check back regularly to these pages for updated information or register for updates here.

You can follow @G M Police and @Terrorism Police for Twitter updates on the incident.


We hope that employers never have to use this advice, but we will continue to play our part by sharing Government advice with employers.

Our thoughts are very much with the people of Manchester at this time.

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