Personal safety at work
Working to protect your safety and well-being
King County is committed to continuously improving safety at workplaces, in downtown Seattle, and throughout our county for all employees, residents, and businesses, and on Metro vehicles. On this webpage, King County employees will find several resources to help them stay safe in their workplace and commuting to and from work.
New and enhanced actions we're taking to keep you safe
- Enhanced security presence: We're boosting security in the King County courthouse and other county buildings
- Employee-only restrooms: Some restrooms are being designated for employees only and can only be accessed with a keycard or code
- Security escort program: Upon request, the County provides security in downtown Seattle for individuals moving between their workplace and their commute. FMD Security Escorts can escort you for several blocks off from the building you work in. Please contact the emergency dispatch center at 206-296-5000 to arrange for a security escort whether coming in to work or leaving work. Advance notice for a Security Escort is appreciated.
- Security Assessment: The County is working with a security consultant to undertake a security audit of the downtown campus and to recommend further improvements.
Other safety resources and programs available to employees
- Goat Hill Garage Tunnel: For employees working in certain buildings, the tunnel from the Goat Hill Garage can be used to access the Chinook Building, the Administration Building, and the Courthouse, avoiding surface streets.
- Walkpooling: Walkpools is a program where you can walk to and from work with a buddy. The program is available whether you walk long distances, walk early in the morning or late in the evening, or have to navigate transit stations. Check out our video or visit the Employee Transportation Program website for more information.
- Walking Buses: Walking buses are a group of employees walking with an FMD security escort each evening to the King Street Station and the Colman Dock from the downtown campus. Learn more about the Walking Bus Program here. For more information contact the FMD Security emergency dispatch center at 206-296-5000 or FMD.Security@kingcounty.gov.
- Metro security officers: Security officers ride services that have the highest rates of non-compliance with Metro’s code of conduct seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Their presence and interaction with customers aim to encourage and support compliance with the code of conduct and serves as a deterrent. They get on and off buses frequently, so they spread themselves out across coaches and routes to maximize their visibility. Officers prioritize service areas with higher instances of customer safety-related complaints.
- Online security incident report: Employees can report non-emergency incidents that happen at work or on their commute that don’t rise to the need for a call for police assistance. If you see anything or anyone that looks unusual or out of place, please use the online security incident report form or call FMD Security at 206-296-5000. If it’s an emergency, call 9-1-1 first, then call FMD Security when you are able.
- Wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable, low profile and appropriate for the weather. This may not be the most fashionable choice but it is the safest.
- Carry minimal items; overloading yourself can make you appear vulnerable. Before you leave, decide what you actually need to take with you.
- If you must carry a purse, carry it very close to you preferable with the strap over your shoulder and the purse to the front of your body. Don’t dangle it from your arm.
- Never carry a wallet in back pocket of pants or jacket or sweater pocket.
- Avoid walking alone. As much as possible, walk or travel with a friend.
- In the downtown core, consider asking FMD Security at 206-296-5000 for an escort, particularly during hours of darkness.
- Use common sense; plan your route to avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages and alleyways. Avoid shortcuts.
- Stick to well-lit areas.
- Consider using the tunnels between buildings, such as between the Courthouse, Administration Building, Chinook Building and Goat Hill Garage, particularly during hours of darkness.
- Walk confidently. Walk with a purpose; project an assertive, business-like image.
- Stay alert to your surroundings, avoid "automatic pilot".
- Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
- Avoid using headphones, engaging with your phone, studying directions or any other activity that might distract you or lessen your awareness of your surroundings.
- Keep people in front of you. Rather than standing on the edge of the sidewalk waiting for the signal light to change, consider waiting back near buildings so others cannot congregate behind you.
- Know the hours when the County buildings will be locked. Have your ID badge at the ready as you approach a locked entrance.
- Be aware of your surroundings and know who is nearby.
- Become aware of alternate routes to your location. Learn the locations of alternate entrances.
- Identify “safe havens” – stores/businesses you could quickly enter for safety, should you suspect danger.
- Don't be afraid to cross the street, enter a business, or ask for help based on a "funny feeling". You may be right!
- Consider using an alternate entrance if you sense your intended entrance may be unsafe.
- If a car follows you or beckons you while you are walking, do not approach it. Instead, turn and quickly walk the opposite direction.
- If a robber grabs your bag, resist the impulse to play tug of war. If you hang on, chances are you will be knocked down, hit, or kicked and the robber will get your bag anyway.
- If someone demands your property and displays or implies in any way that they have a weapon, hand the bag or wallet to them.
- Afterwards, call 9-1-1 and report it immediately. The sooner you involve the police, the less likely the thief will strike again.