What do you use for construction site security? Is it one that helps deter theft, damage, and other losses? How much has your construction company lost due to theft and the lack of workers? It adds up. Construction managers must ask themselves these questions.
With the rising cost of construction materials unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, it’s crucial to make the most of every dollar and prevent losses. This includes ensuring construction workers remain safe at all times. Of course, you never want anyone to get hurt, but it will be hard to replace anyone who doesn’t show up for work with the shortage of workers.
How can you maximize worker safety while stopping crime without overspending on construction site security? First, let’s take a look at the cost of not having construction site security.
The Need for Construction Site Security
The good news is that it’s possible to improve safety and health as efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the construction industry have seen great success in reducing worker deaths and injuries.
Back in the 1970s, there was an average of 38 worker deaths per day. That number dropped by more than half with an average of 15 deaths per day in 2019. The fact remains that the construction industry still accounts for 20% of all worker fatalities over a one-year period according to OSHA.
The industry continues to take steps to reduce the Fatal Four causes of 60% of the fatalities. These include falls, struck by object, caught-in or between objects or equipment, and electrocutions. Any effort by the industry to prevent the Fatal Four will save hundreds of lives.
No one can put a price on a person’s loss of life. Fortunately, this is rare. Still, it happens. Injuries, however, are far more prevalent. In 1972, for every 100 workers, there were approximately 11 incidents of worker injuries and illnesses. In 2019, the number fell to about 3 injuries and illnesses per 100 workers.
While this is something to celebrate, there’s a catch. About 25% of construction workers admitted to having a work-related accident and didn’t report it according to a Center for Construction Research and Training survey.
The most commonly cited OSHA violation for 10 years has been due to a lack of fall protection and training. Fortunately, most falls can be prevented. It turns out that over half of the slips, trips, and falls in the workplace are the result of human factors as reported in a BLR survey of safety professionals. The other two biggest causes of falls are wet or slippery surfaces and housekeeping issues.
The Cost of Not Having Construction Security
Some construction companies try to take a shortcut by buying cheap knockoffs of personal protective equipment (PPE). However, this could end up costing more once you add the price of injuries. The National Safety Council states that in 2019 a company paid $42,000 for the average job-related, medically consulted injury. The total cost of work injuries for 2019 was $171 billion, which is $10 billion more than what was reported in 2017.
Data from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of days away from work due to injuries and illnesses for private industry occupations in 2020 was 12 days, up from eight days in 2019. Moreover, the number of days of work lost due to injuries in 2019 was 70 million days. But it can affect the following years. Thus, someone who gets injured in 2021 may continue to miss work in 2022.
Injuries have a way of snowballing and adding other costs. They could delay the work putting the project at risk of missing deadlines, hurting morale, and affecting customer service. All of these factors will have a negative impact on the bottom line. The construction project could potentially result in paying penalties for missed dates.
When this happens, it could affect the company’s reputation. Customers might be disappointed to learn the project will not be completed by the deadline. These unhappy customers might talk about the construction company publicly and may tell others not to do business with the company.
Of course, injuries are not the only thing that can lead to unexpected costs. Companies pay a high price when their construction site experiences theft and vandalism.
The Impact of Theft and Vandalism on Construction Sites
A Market Trends Report on used equipment and trucks from Ritchie Bros. shows user equipment is selling for much higher than the norm. Asset Solutions shows truck tractor prices in the U.S. increased by 23% year-over-year in June 2021. Canada is also seeing the price of equipment jump by 28% YOY. Not only is the price of equipment soaring but also equipment theft can put a big dent to a company’s bottom line.
The National Equipment Register (NER) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2016 Equipment Theft Report indicates that stolen equipment in the U.S. costs up to $1 billion per year. This data does not include losses from business disruptions, such as project-delay penalties, short-term rental costs, and unused workforce and management time.
The chances of recovering stolen items are slim as 75% of stolen equipment will not be returned according to the NER Report. Theft on construction sites is a problem criminals know they can enter a construction site after-hours with few barriers. To make matters worse, if a trespasser gets hurt while doing illegal activities, they could pursue a liability claim on the construction site. Believe it or not, crooks can win these liability lawsuits.
So, where does lowering insurance premiums come in? One construction security technology can help construction companies deter crime and reduce injuries without affecting their profits. This one construction site security solution can result in a fast return on investment and could lead to lower insurance premiums.
How Construction Site Security Helps Lower Insurance Premiums
The construction site security that can achieve all this is an integrated security solution that combines remote video surveillance with an access control system.
Many insurance companies will extend lower premiums to construction companies that use remote video surveillance on their sites. Lower risk means lower rates. A video surveillance system with monitoring by video analytics and a trained monitoring operator typically yields faster response times from the police. As a result, criminals and trespassers can often be caught before they cause damage.
TechnicalRisk Underwriters (TRU) is an underwriter of first-party insurance for Course of Construction (COC) risks. They maintain a list of approved security vendors who can intercept theft and vandalism attempts and prevent them with high-tech equipment like remote video surveillance and access control system.
This integrated security system uses leading-edge video analytics to help detect unauthorized activity and send real-time alerts from the vendor’s monitoring center. It helps mitigate losses for the insured.
TRU’s list of vetted security vendors contains companies it has deemed outstanding in their field when it comes to the protection of construction sites based on TRU’s experience with projects nationwide. TRU regularly audits these approved security companies to ensure their equipment quality and monitoring center service continue to meet the highest standards.
Stealth Monitoring is an approved video surveillance provider for TRU Risk Sites. Here are videos of how Stealth Monitoring uses video surveillance:
- Construction site liability protection
- Early morning construction site breach
- Capturing construction site trespassers
In addition to reducing risks and insurance premiums, you can help increase workplace safety. You can conduct training on a regular basis, buy high-quality PPE, and do everything right. And yet, all this can be for naught when something breaks, or a worker makes a mistake such as putting a tool down in an unsafe place or parking equipment in a dangerous location. Inclement weather creates dangerous conditions that can turn into a fall hazard. Thus, new safety hazards appear every day.
One of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to monitor the property is with remote video surveillance and an access control system. Video cameras are not just for security. They can be a valuable health and safety tool. Monitoring the construction site can verify workers prepare and use the equipment correctly. Video surveillance can also help spot fall hazards and other dangerous conditions.
Recall that the most common causes of falls are human factors. Proactive video surveillance with video analytics and trained monitoring operators can watch for these human factors and have them corrected before anyone gets hurt.
Security cameras can monitor for leaks and floods. The earlier the problem is spotted, the less damage there will be. Integrated security that contains video surveillance with analytics and trained monitoring operators as well as an access control system that can watch the entire property simultaneously and effectively.
The trained monitoring operators aren’t on the construction site. This means their lives are never at risk and no one from the workplace site can try to draft them for internal theft.
Remote video surveillance helps mitigate your workplace safety and liability risks while bolstering security. It can save a lot of time and money because it can help reduce liability, deter crime, and prevent injuries. Video surveillance records everything. You’ll have the evidence you need. You can also use the recordings for training workers.