If you’re embarking on a construction project in 2017, then you’ll need to account for the threat of crime. Construction sites are inherently vulnerable to being targeted by burglars, arsonists and vandals for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’re physically more easily accessible than complete structures; secondly, they require that specialist, unfamiliar personnel regularly come on site for short periods, providing would-be wrongdoers with an ideal cover; thirdly, they contain large amounts of valuable, portable, easily-sold equipment, which a thief will be able to make a great deal from.
What can be done?
In order to secure a site, it’s important to take a holistic approach. Instead of focusing on just one area, take a variety of steps to ensure that every conceivable gap is closed. We’ll discuss how we might tailor our strategy to match the site in question in a moment, but before we do that, let’s examine some of the technological tools we have at our disposal.
Closed-circuit television is a tool that’s ubiquitous throughout the country – which is now purported to be the most heavily surveyed on the face of the planet. There’s a reason that CCTV is such a popular security measure: it’s extremely effective. A closed circuit security camera can provide live images to a manned control room, providing a site with an instant reaction against threats. It can also record evidence used to secure conviction against intruders, and can thereby provide a strong deterrent against attacks. This deterrent can be put across all the more strongly with the help of large signs carrying warning messages like ‘CCTV in operation’ and ‘intruders will be prosecuted’.
There’s a reason so many criminals prefer to operate under cover of darkness – if no-one can see what you’re doing, then they can’t easily prevent you from doing it. That’s why lighting is such a terrifying thing for thieves – to be suddenly yanked from the cover of darkness into a beam of all-revealing, brilliant white light is terrifying, particularly when you’re in a high-risk situation. A motion-activated security lamp, therefore, will provide an excellent defence against criminality.
If the fear of being exposed by a beam of light is enough to deter a would-be thief, then the prospect of being deafened by an ear-piercing alarm system is likely to do so to an even greater extent. But not all alarm systems need be of the audible sort; you might employ silent motion sensors which work in conjunction with your CCTV and remote control room to provide a chance of catching wrongdoers red-handed.
Naturally, if there’s no physical barrier in place to stop them from doing so, thieves will have a far easier time gaining access to your site. In order to solve this problem, it’s necessary to erect such a barrier. A perimeter fence should be considered obligatory – and you’ll want one that’s taller than any neighbouring buildings, and equipped with anti-climbing technology.
In order to properly secure your site, you’ll need to effectively police who can enter and leave it. This means access control, which traditionally comes either in the form of a key or an identity card which must be checked by a real person. A key comes with a number of disadvantages – most significant among them being that whenever a keyholder in your employ leaves, you’ll need to get the lock re-installed and the keys re-cut and re-issued.
With an electronic system of access control, you’ll be able to simply remove a single key from the list of approved identities, thereby saving yourself an enormous amount of trouble and expense. Moreover, an electronic system of access control will be able to keep an automatic log of the comings and goings of your staff – allowing you to easily apportion blame in the event of wrongdoing.
The technologies we’ve mentioned should be considered essential tools in the battle against crime – and in many cases, they remove the need for ordinary security guards altogether. There are still situations, however, where guards can provide support to surveillance systems. For example, a CCTV camera might spot something unusual, and then advise a guard to inspect the area further – thereby addressing the problem in a more effective way than either of them alone could have managed.
As well as technology, we should consider the steps we might take to improve security by changing the behaviour of workers. Just as a health-and-safety conscious employee might refrain from leaving tripping hazards lying around on the floor, a crime-conscious one might refrain from leaving valuable items on display. Instil into your workforce the importance of tidying items away when they aren’t in use, and securing the especially valuable ones behind lock and key. By altering the culture on your site, you’ll be able to lessen the likelihood of an incident – and without spending a penny on new equipment and installation. Taking security more seriously, then, is a New Year’s resolution worth adopting.
In order to address weaknesses in your security, you’ll need to first identify where they are. While you might gain some benefit from simply installing security measures haphazardly wherever the feeling might take you, you’re sure to get far more security for your money if you approach the problem in a precise, targeted fashion.
That’s why regular risk-assessments are so importance. In each construction site, which will by definition be slightly different from every other, there will be slightly different risks. It’s important to therefore conduct an assessment at the start of the project, and at several points along the way. Examine what might have gone wrong in previous projects, and see what changes might be made to make such problems unlikely in the new one. With the right analysis and consideration, you’re sure to avoid making the same mistakes in the future – and with the right technology, employed in the right manner, you’ll minimise the likelihood of a security breach occurring in 2017.