8 Reasons Why You Want Video Monitoring for Your Construction Site Security Solution

Posted on July 18, 2019

Construction sites face many difficulties. The two biggest are injuries and theft. No company wants its employees to get hurt on the job. Any case of theft or injury can easily lead to project delays, cost overruns, and shrinking profits.

Moreover, worksites contain expensive equipment and materials making them attractive to thieves. Sites rarely have people present after hours. Their wide-open layouts tempt prospective criminals to sneak on the property, hunting for expensive items. While insurance may reimburse for theft, the resolution is not always quick.

Injuries and theft are serious problems for construction projects as the data reveals.

Construction Workers Face a High Risk for Injuries

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, almost one of out every five worker fatalities has occurred in construction. The Fatal Four responsible for the 60 percent of the fatalities include falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, and caught-in or between equipment or objects. Taking steps to eliminate the Fatal Four would save 582 lives in America every year.

Additionally, EHS Today says the following occupations have the great risk of fatalities in the private sector:

  • Carpenters: 7 percent
  • Electricians: 7 percent
  • Roofers: 11 percent
  • First-line supervisors: 13 percent
  • Construction laborer: 26 percent

This data only considers fatalities. Non-fatal injuries range from everyday unsafe situations like exposure to unacceptable noise levels and overexertion to trips and falls.

A constant stream of equipment, materials, and people flow in and out of the job site. Uneven ground and obstacles can cause workers to slip and fall. Companies need to remain vigilant about cables, materials, and tools being out of place, creating an unnecessary hazard.

National Safety Council lists construction as one of the top five occupations with the greatest number of injuries resulting in days away from work. You can't always find a replacement quickly enough to keep the project on schedule.

The Price of Theft

The second major problem, theft, can be very expensive. The National Equipment Register estimates that thieves steal somewhere between $300 million to $1 billion in equipment every year. This doesn't count frequently stolen items such as tools and building equipment.

Construction equipment theft is a consistently growing problem as thieves discover many worksites won't keep them out. A whopping 75 percent of stolen equipment never finds its way back to the owner. Thieves know their chances of getting caught are slim. Because of this, they believe it's worth the risk since they know they can sell the equipment for a lot of money.

Equipment theft isn't the only expensive problem. The Department of Energy reports the amount of stolen copper exceeds $1 billion every year. Thieves know they can sell the metal, which garners an average of $3 per pound, at construction sites.

Although insurance can help cover the cost of stolen equipment and materials, theft can do far more damage than inconvenience the company. Insurance doesn't pay out quickly. Meanwhile, the construction company is short on equipment. That leads to project delays and higher expenses as they scramble to seek replacements.

The domino effect continues. A project that falls behind means an unhappy client. When that happens, the client may never use the company again and tell others not to do business with the company.

One thing can help solve many of construction's challenges and delivers a fast ROI. It can help prevent and deter theft and injuries. That’s video surveillance.

What Is Construction Video Surveillance?

Companies install video cameras in strategic locations around the construction site and monitor them. An effectively designed security camera monitoring program for construction sites sees the entire site and records all activity, regardless if anyone watches the cameras.

Construction companies typically work with a vendor that has knowledge and experience with video monitoring. They know how to optimize the video system for the construction site and make recommendations based on the company's needs.

Some vendors have a monitoring center located away from the construction site where trained operators watch cameras in real-time. This keeps them out of harm's way and reduces any potential bias associated with building relationships on site. These services can save up to 60 percent on your security guard costs.

The most effective proactive video monitoring solutions deter crime. A trained monitoring operator can contact the police and provide live reports with what's happening on the worksite. Often, the police arrive and apprehend the suspects before damage occurs.

8 Reasons Construction Sites Need Video Surveillance

Construction projects need video surveillance. It can do much more than increase safety and security. Check out these eight ways remote video monitoring boosts construction security.

1. Deters theft and vandalism

This may surprise you. CNBC shares data from Statistic Brain that reveals employee theft costs U.S. businesses $50 billion every year! Companies need to watch their own.

Putting up cameras isn't an indicator of employee distrust. Not when the company presents it to employees in the right way. They talk about how the cameras are there to identify safety hazards, improve productivity, deter outside theft, and more. When outsiders and employees see the cameras, they're less likely to steal.

2. Identifies and eliminates safety risks

Loose cables, leaky pipes, out-of-place materials. These are dangers waiting to happen. Trained operators constantly watch cameras strategically placed around your job site. As soon as they identify a safety hazard, they contact the site supervisor.

Site management cannot typically catch such things because they only have eyes on what's in front of them. People watching your cameras can view the entire site. If an employee is injured when no one is near, the operators can catch it and report it ASAP.

3. Improves operational efficiencies

With cameras placed around the site, the system allows a trained operator to study the activity, comings and goings, bottlenecks, foot and vehicle traffic, transporting of materials, and more. The operator works with management to identify opportunities for improvement.

It can shorten walking and material transport distances, prevent unneeded multiple trips, keep vehicle and foot traffic separate, avoid duplication, and organize the construction site for maximum effectiveness. Management also uses monitoring to ensure employees take safety precautions and use the right tool for each task. Some companies use video monitoring for training.

4. Reduces liability and fraud

No matter what protocols and processes you have in place, construction sites contain dangerous equipment and materials. Employees are human. They make mistakes. With fatigue or extreme temperatures, they can forget to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

Should anything happen, video surveillance helps to limit liability by recording the activity, which becomes evidence. It proves that your company did not deliberately violate safety measures. This helps with any potential lawsuit.

5. Watches the site in all weather conditions

Extreme weather, everything from strong winds to sudden freezes, can cause problems for worksites. Since no one will be on site during perilous conditions, remotely located trained operators can watch the property from a safe location.

If they see a potential problem, they call the on-call manager or emergency personnel. Companies use recorded video for these situations as proof to insurance companies that the weather is responsible for the damage.

6. Minimizes damage

Some vendors integrate a flood detection system with live video surveillance. It's a small device that easily attaches to the water meter to detect leaks, running water, power outages, and humidity and temperatures in and around the main water meter. If a problem pops up, the system alerts a trained operator who takes immediate action before the problem spins out of control.

7. Costs less than security guards

Security guards can only see their surroundings. For every guard added to the payroll, costs climb exponentially. Security guard costs involve more than their salaries. Companies must also pay for insurance, training, uniforms, and equipment.

Security guards get very little training compared to police officers. Companies have no guarantee security guards will react appropriately to every situation. They're human and their training doesn't begin to prepare them for dangerous situations that set off the fight or flight instinct.

In one case, law enforcement charged an armed security guard with murder after he shot a man on the property. Apparently, the guard acted beyond the scope of his authority when he used his weapon.

8. Maximizes construction security investment

Video surveillance delivers savings in multiple ways. It reduces theft, increases productivity, cuts risk, and lowers insurance premiums. Investing in video monitoring will deliver a quick ROI and maybe even increase revenues. With a remote video security system, companies can reduce or skip the use of security guards. Cameras can also access and watch areas on the property where security guards may not go, such as on a roof or an alley.

Proactive construction video monitoring combines video analytics and human intelligence for the highest level of security 24/7. Construction security cameras do far more than deter crime and damage before it happens. They support the business and help make it a safer place to work.

Construction management gains peace of mind knowing that someone always has eyes on the property and the system records all suspicious activity. Cameras can increase safety and productivity while ensuring compliance and the following of procedures. They can reduce risk, liability, fraud, and insurance premiums.

Injuries and theft aren't the only challenges found on construction sites. They contend with trespassing, vandalism, arson, and Mother Nature's wrath. With remote video monitoring, you have someone who can safely watch your worksite regardless of what's happening on the property. Operators work in a safe place offsite watching for problems and taking appropriate action when one arises.

To learn about construction site video monitoring, check out the Construction Security and Safety Best Practices guide or contact us.