It’s no surprise that construction deals with a wealth of security challenges that other industries don’t. Construction companies need to concern themselves with injuries, theft, vandalism, liability issues, and more. Construction sites are vulnerable to all these problems because of their being out in the open and the nature of the job.
First of all, it surprises no one that construction has the highest rate of fatal work injuries as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Unfortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the number of deaths in construction is almost 40 percent.
Secondly, the National Equipment Register Equipment Theft Report
discloses that theft of stolen large construction equipment falls somewhere between $300 million and $1 billion. Only one-fifth of the equipment is recovered.
Thirdly, without construction site security, a liability claim can be a big, expensive problem. Squatters may find their way to the construction site and spend the night there. They leave before the first worker arrives. If a squatter gets hurt on the property, it could turn into a liability lawsuit. Anything to make a quick buck. Yes, even though the person is trespassing. Therefore, it’s important to invest in construction site security to help keep unauthorized people out.
In some cases, an unauthorized person’s trespassing could be innocuous. It could be a tourist or person not familiar with the territory using the construction site as a shortcut. They may not realize they’re on the property of a construction site.
Here are 10 tips to boost your construction site security to help minimize injuries, liability claims, theft, and trespassing.
1. Create a Construction Site Security Strategy
Construction sites house valuable assets like machinery, large equipment, tools, copper wiring, and other expensive materials and supplies. Creating a construction site security strategy will help construction companies document how they will protect their properties from vandals, thieves, and trespassers.
Every job site is different. They have different layouts, different neighborhoods, and different factors affecting security such as equipment, materials, entry and exit points, and more. The construction site security needs to be specific to the job site. You’ll create a new one for every project. The template can be the same, but the information updated.
2. Implement Asset Management
The construction industry already wrangles with a shortage of qualified workers. As such, it’s critical to have the required assets when you need them and to keep them off the property when you don’t. Thus, asset tracking construction software is a worthwhile investment.
Investing in asset management will help companies improve efficiencies and do more with less. In fact, more than 70 percent of respondents to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and USG Corporation survey say technology can increase labor productivity and project delivery.
Asset tracking software prevents employees from wasting time trying to track down needed assets. It will ensure assets are always operational because the software can notify you when it’s time for maintenance. The last thing your project needs is to stop work because heavy equipment stops functioning.
3. Organize the Construction Site
An organized construction site helps increase safety, maximize productivity, and boost profits. When you have the foresight to organize a construction site, you’ll optimize it to shorten distances for transporting material to point of use. It’ll verify there are no blocked areas to make sure materials can move around the site easily, quickly, and safely.
An organized construction site optimizes the safe and effective storage of materials. You’ll also avoid duplicate handling of chemicals and materials. The process will include adding controls to limit theft, material waste, and breakage. And finally, an organized construction site allows the equipment to safely maneuver around the site.
4. Develop Checklists
Every day, workers need to review their equipment including their personal protective equipment. They also must verify they follow safety protocols before, during, and after completing the tasks. When workers do something every day, it’s too easy to forget and miss a step. Checklists solve that problem.
Create checklists for safety, equipment check-in and check-out, and anything else that must be done every time. You may have a separate checklist for the winter and summer seasons. For instance, in the winter you want to inspect the site for snow and ice. Clear any found on the ground, scaffolding, ladders, steps, walkways, and windows.
The same applies after a rainy day. You want to reduce the chances of anyone slipping. Look for puddles and remediate them as appropriate. For any areas you can’t clear, rope it off or put up a clearly marked sign with instructions. Ensure the sign cannot blow away or fall over.
5. Secure the Perimeter
Perimeter security involves putting systems in place to protect everything within the boundary. The goal is to maintain safety, keep intruders out, and deter crime. Perimeter security focuses on more than protecting the building on the job site. It also looks at safeguarding the areas outside of the facility such as the parking garage, loading area, pedestrian traffic, and landscaping.
Many options exist to help construction companies secure the job site for the entire duration of the project. The more layers they add to the security, the better the protection. Fortifying the security of your property can be as easy as locking the gates to as powerful as adding remote video surveillance with artificial intelligence.
6. Conduct training on a regular basis
Companies that go longer without a workplace incident have one thing in common. They hold safety training on a regular basis. Security should be part of that training because all it takes is one slip-up by a worker to bring down security. When you create your security strategy, include training, how often you’ll host training, and what it will cover.
Your workers are the best source for reporting potential problems. Emphasize the importance of “see something, say something” in the training. However, some fear saying anything in fear of retaliation. So, you want to provide a way for them to anonymously report problems. Every new project and job site should have its own training.
7. Manage Access with an Access Control System
An access control system is an effective security option for construction sites. It affords an easy way to manage who can and cannot enter the construction site. It’s an automated way to provide access to a construction site with a fenced perimeter. Managers won’t have to worry about outsiders walking on the property.
Whether you use an access control system, aim to have only one access point. This gives you greater control over traffic coming and going, or perhaps, one entry point and one exit point. This may improve traffic flow. Try to keep pedestrian and vehicle traffic separate.
8. Use Lighting
Dark construction sites may scare a lot of folks, but they don’t scare intruders. They know the darkness will make it harder to spot them. Using floodlights will reduce the temptation to trespass on the job site. Work with a security specialist to determine the most effective way to light the property after-hours and after sundown while people continue working.
9. Prepare for Weather
Weather delays and damages cost construction sites billions of dollars. That’s why it’s essential for management to monitor the weather and the job site. One of the easiest ways to do that is with video surveillance cameras. (Next tip.) The cameras can monitor a site for damage from frozen pipes, flooding, and other natural disasters. The sooner the problem is caught, the faster it can be resolved and minimize the associated costs from the damage.
Training comes to play again here. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommend that construction employers and workers receive training on summer and winter weather safety. Equipment needs to be prepared and maintained differently between hot and cold weather. Workers also need to be outfitted with proper gear for the temperatures and tasks.
10. Install Video Cameras
Strategically placed surveillance cameras help deter crime and vandalism, minimize damage, and help protect you from liability claims. To maximize construction site security with security cameras, you want to implement remote video surveillance that combines artificial intelligence and human monitoring.
Working with a hybrid monitoring solution, you get the benefit of artificial intelligence taking over mundane tasks while the monitoring operator makes decisions on how to respond. AI’s job is to scan the entire property for any number of programmed scenarios. It’ll watch for people approaching the property after-hours. It will ignore harmless things like flying plastic bags and stray animals.
As soon as the system identifies something irregular, it notifies the on-duty monitoring operator. Depending on the activity, the operator can react by issuing a warning over an on-site speaker and it’s done without being physically present on the construction site. If the trespasser does not leave, then the operator can track the suspect while contacting law enforcement to provide updates.
On top of keeping watch over the entire perimeter, video surveillance records everything that happens on the construction site. Law enforcement and insurance companies can use the video footage as evidence in criminal cases and liability claims. It can potentially lower your liability insurance premiums and other costs.
What makes video surveillance different from other security solutions is that it’s proactive. It delivers the highest level of security for your construction site while helping to reduce liability and hazards. Video surveillance ensures a quick ROI for security because of all these benefits and more.
For a deep dive into this topic, download the Construction Security and Safety Best Practices guide. This detailed construction security guide discusses industry challenges and offers solutions. You’ll learn about the current and forecasted trends in construction security as well as the options available. It also has recommended industry best practices to help you set up more secure and safer construction sites. If you’d like to learn more now or after reading the guide, contact us.