4 Jobsite Security Flaws Construction Must Fix

Posted by Ryan Palmer on June 10, 2022

It's simply a matter of life and death that construction jobsites must not have any security gaps. Jobsite security weaknesses can lead to vandalism, injuries, theft, expensive project delays, and lost profits. They deal with unique security threats that few other industries experience.

First of all, a lot of the high-priced assets can't be locked up. These assets include equipment, tools, materials, and vehicles that have a high resale value. It makes them attractive to thieves and organized crime gangs. The fact is that theft of heavy machinery costs an average of $400 million dollars every year per the report from the National Equipment Register.

Copper and metal theft have also been growing problems. The Department of Energy says $1 billion dollars’ worth of copper is stolen every year. Gaps in jobsite security can cost a construction project far more than the price of the damage and stolen goods. You can't put a price on injuries.

Safety, of course, has always been one of the top priorities on a jobsite. However, additional factors like escalating material costs, supply chain breakdowns, and a worker shortage make it mandatory to mitigate jobsite security risks. Here are the top four jobsite security threats that must be addressed now and how to close the gap to lower the risks of theft and injuries.

1. Having a Dark Jobsite

It's standard practice to turn off the lights when you leave a room or building. The same goes for a jobsite because it helps save energy. Unfortunately, it creates a major jobsite security risk. Thieves revel in darkness as it allows them to do their thing without being spotted.

Fortunately, there are more construction site lighting options. Some of them are energy efficient allowing you to keep the lights on all night. You can also compromise on saving energy while reducing the risk of theft by opting for motion-sensor lights. They can sometimes be more effective than leaving the lights turned on all night.

Lights that suddenly turn on when they detect motion can scare off intruders. Be aware that motion-sensor lights do not always work as thieves don't always set them off or get scared off. Think of those times when you go into a bathroom with motion-sensor lights. You most likely found yourself waving your arms to get the lights to turn on. Thieves certainly won't be doing that.

Another option is to add security cameras that can see as well at night as they do during the day. Security is always best when it has multiple layers. In this case, you could implement a hybrid solution of motion-sensor lights and video surveillance with remote monitoring. Security cameras not only can see at night but also record activity that happens. This could give you the proof you need for insurance and court cases.

While implementing video surveillance, be sure to hang "This area under surveillance" signs. This can be a powerful deterrent, but it won't work 100% of the time. When you opt for remote monitoring with security cameras, it adds another layer of security. Video surveillance that pairs video analytics and trained monitoring operators can help close a lot of security holes.

As soon as video analytics recognizes any one of its many programmed scenarios, it can alert the monitoring operator. The action the monitoring operator takes depends on the scenario, as well as site protocols. One possibility is using the audio speaker feature to issue a warning to the trespassers.

The operator is not on the jobsite. They work in a monitoring center away from the jobsite. The video surveillance system makes it possible to communicate with people on the jobsite. If the intruders don't leave, then the operator can call the police and continue to follow the suspects until the police arrive.

As you do your research on video surveillance, ask about thermal imaging cameras for seeing in the dark. Ask your security consultant about the best options for your jobsite security.

2. Lacking Perimeter Protection

Many jobsites forget about perimeter security. It's an important jobsite security option in the construction industry. Most jobsites are wide open, which could attract trespassers. Protecting the perimeter helps safeguard the materials and equipment on the jobsite. Perimeter security also protects zones outside of the jobsite like the parking and pedestrian areas.

What you can do is put up a fence. In doing so, you can reduce the number of entries and exits to the job site. If possible, make it so there is only one entry point. This gives you more control over where people and vehicles enter and exit. It also puts up another layer of security. During nonworking hours, keep the fence or gate locked. It may or may not be possible, but an access control system can further secure the area.

The fence forces people to go to one entry point. Although it's possible to break through a fence or gate — depending on what is used — trespassers may not have the right tools to do that. They target jobsites with the fewest barriers. That's why layering security is critical.

As mentioned before, you could post signs that the area is under surveillance. Another option is to add a warning that there will be penalties for trespassing. Every bit helps.

Video surveillance also comes in handy with perimeter protection. It can record and save everything. A trained monitor watching the cameras could catch someone approaching the property before they enter the perimeter. The operator may take action before the suspects reach the entry. Or if they try to enter another area, they could be seen. The operator can respond using the audio speaker to warn the person to leave the property. Not everyone will be deterred, unfortunately. That's another advantage of video surveillance. It puts up multiple hurdles.

You might be thinking that an on-site security guard would work fine here. However, what if the security guards are on another part of the property? If it's nighttime, how will they spot any intruders? Security guards are not the police. There are a lot of things they can't do. They can also create a liability issue.

Trained operators are safe in this situation and can react without worrying about their lives. They calmly alert the trespasser and can call law enforcement with reports of the criminal's location.

3. Failing to Protect Cargo and Deliveries

A CBS News report says that between January and September 2021, companies reported about $45 million in cargo theft. This most likely exceeded the $49 million for the year 2019 and matched the $68 million in cargo theft in 2020. CargoNet's Keith Lewis tells CBS News that cargo theft will most likely not slow down anytime soon.

Therefore, it's important to control all incoming and outgoing deliveries. Keeping a strict delivery schedule can help enhance your security. For example, don't allow Friday deliveries if no one works on the jobsite on the weekends.

It's worth creating a just-in-time delivery process to reduce the number of excess materials you have on the jobsite. Another step to take in helping to prevent cargo theft is to require trucking companies to call at least 24 hours before pick-up or delivery. They need to provide the driver's name, carrier's name, truck and trailer numbers, and insurance information.

After the truck arrives, photograph the truck, driver and bill of lading. Video surveillance with license plate technology can document the driver's face and the truck's information.

4. Lacking Video Surveillance with Monitoring

Video surveillance stands out from other jobsite security options because it relies on a combination of technology and humans. While you can hire security guards, it costs far more than video surveillance with remote monitoring. Security guards can't be everywhere, and they can fear for their lives.

It's important to choose the right video surveillance system that combines video analytics and human intelligence to watch for activity, not just motion. They can identify suspicious activities such as trespassing, unsafe worker behavior, and jobsite safety hazards.

Anytime crooks work too fast and leave before the police arrive, the cameras may have important information to help law enforcement track down the people responsible. They can capture faces and vehicle information. Fortunately, our Stealth team can often call to get the police to the jobsite before the criminals leave. Emergency personnel tends to respond faster when the call comes from Stealth. That's because they know our team has video verification that something is happening on the property.

While theft and damage can cause your insurance premiums to soar, video surveillance can help lower them. Insurance companies typically provide discounts to companies that decrease their risk with technology like video surveillance and access control system.

So much activity takes place on a jobsite. It's hard for anyone to watch over it all. Implementing jobsite security like lighting, fencing, delivery management, video surveillance, and access control can help protect your assets and ensure everyone feels safer.

Video surveillance with remote monitoring can mitigate your jobsite security risks while maximizing safety and security. You could see significant time and cost savings as the system will help avert crime, prevent injuries, and lower liability.

To learn more about jobsite security, pick up the construction security and safety best practices guide. This construction security guide discusses industry challenges and offers solutions. If you'd like to know more, feel free to contact us.

Posted in: Crime Prevention, Video Security Systems, Video Monitoring