San Bernardino Shooting: How to Cope With Violence in the Workplace

Motive unclear in San Bernardino deaths, but workplace connection considered.

— -- The shooting rampage that left 14 people dead in California Wednesday has put a spotlight on violence in the workplace. Investigators are trying to understand why suspected shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik marched into a conference at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino and allegedly started shooting.

Whether this was a workplace-motivated incident remains to be seen but, either way, deadly workplace violence is relatively rare, with documented workplace homicides even declining from 463 in 2012 to 403 last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. That accounts for less than 10 percent of the 4,679 fatal workplace injuries in 2014.

John Bruner of In-Crisis Consulting advises running, if possible, hiding, if trapped, and confronting and fighting an attacker as a last resort.

“You need to be aggressive; you have to fight for your life," Bruner told ABC News.

The Department of Homeland security has a detailed guide on how to survive an active-shooter situation. The agency advises running if there is a clear exit, but to be sure to keep hands visible and follow the orders of police.

If you need to confront the shooter, the agency advises using improvised weapons, yelling and acting as aggressively as possible.

Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York-based psychoanalyst, told ABC News that it's important, in spite of the news, that people do not become terrorized or desensitized to the violence. She advised being aware, but not letting frightening news overtake your life or stop your normal routine.

"Too many people are probably watching it over and over again and having it on in the background with their children in the room," Saltz said. "Unfortunately, we have to go to work and our children are aware that we go to work."

She pointed out that the chance of encountering deadly violence in the workplace is rare.

"You have to hold on to that kind of logic; know that you’re not going to stop crossing the street, you’re not going to stop driving your car,” Saltz said. “You’re not going to stop going to work.”

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