On-Site Security, Just How Easy is it to get on your Site? So-called ‘urban base jumper’ Dan Witchalls has recently achieved viral success with his video (see below), which shows him and his cameraman sneaking into a construction site, disguised as workers, and then carrying out a base-jump.
Witchalls is known for a succession of stunts in which he leaps off a tall building, parachute in tow, and glides to the safety of the street below. He claims to do it to ‘fulfil his need for excitement’ – which is understandable, since such things are clearly very exciting. This excitement comes at considerable risk, however – not only to Witchalls himself, but to the company whose security he is breaching.
In the video, Witchalls explains that his pursuit is “probably the only sport or pastime in the world where you can do everything 100% right and still die just because of some random factor”. Clearly, construction site operators will not relish the prospect of a fatality on their premises, and so will be keen to learn how this threat is guarded against, just as that of theft and vandalism is.
Construction sites are notoriously difficult to secure, as is demonstrated by Witchall’s success in gaining access to them using nothing but a disguise and some rudimentary fence-climbing skills. This is so for a few different reasons. The most obvious of these is that construction sites are, by their very nature, easy to gain access to; the structure of the building is incomplete, and so anyone who wishes to do so can often simply walk onto the site. Perimeter fences and security cameras can help to deter intruders – but, as we see in the video, even then the problem isn’t entirely mitigated against.
Construction invariably involve many different specialists coming on site over the course of a project. You might enlist the aid of electricians, plumbers, plasterers, bricklayers and many other professionals, some of whose contribution might last for the entire project, some of whose might last only last for a few days.
This means that many unfamiliar faces may turn up onsite, affording potential intruders the perfect opportunity to blend in. Is it realistic to expect your security to staff to know everyone on site, and where they’re supposed to be, and what equipment they’re allowed to remove? Probably not. It’s therefore sensible to implement some form of access control.
Mechanical locks provide some measure of cover against the problem. But mechanical locks can easily be lost or deliberately distributed by your trusted staff – leading to a security breach. After all, there’s no way of determining whether the person using the key has the authority to do so. And what if you decide you need to let a key-holder go?
More sophisticated access control systems help to address these complaints. For example, operators might issue their employees with swipe cards, each of which carries a unique identity code. This will mean that access to the site can be electronically tracked, and so any cases of theft or vandalism can be more thoroughly investigated after the fact. One might also take things a stage further using biometric authorisation devices, which identify people according to a distinguishing feature, like the surface of a fingerprint, or of the retina. Such measures are more than worthwhile in settings where security is absolutely paramount.
In this way, we can revoke a person’s access privileges without having to physically confiscate the key from them – after a card, fob or eyeball has been removed from the database, it will no longer be able to access the site.
Moreover, we can eliminate the possibility that a worker might use their key to allow other, unauthorised people on site. By using a substantial, tall turnstile, you’ll also be able to ensure that only one person is allowed to enter the site at any one time, and that no unwelcome visitors are also allowed inside. These require a concrete base and a separate control unit, and so are ideal for those large site where the stakes are high enough to justify the expenditure. But smaller sites can also benefit from, waist-height turnstiles like those found in theme parks and tube stations.
An electronic system of this sort also has the advantage of traceability. Access to a site is stored in a single central database, allowing operators to manage access to many different sites without having to go the trouble of re-entering the same information over and over.
Operators will then be provided with a comprehensive overview of who is accessing their sites and when. This information can then be used to make decisions in the future, and minimise the chances of a base-jump or any other form of unauthorised access occurring! Read more about Tag Access here…