Threats to construction sites are directly proportional to the size of the project. Crime can happen at any location but as we all know, normally construction sites do not operate under continuous surveillance and hence are prone to criminal threats. Construction sites are undoubted, expensive work areas and are also vulnerable to many types of threats and hazards. As the work is in progress all the time and the infrastructure is being constructed, also expensive equipment, tools, and materials are kept on site. The equipment and material used for construction and the machinery alone are worth quite a handsome amount. As the construction period can span over weeks, months, or even years, it can host not only potential threats but also natural disasters. These threats can be curtailed effectively if a few good practices are implemented for construction site security hence contributing not only to saving precious lives but also to decreasing the monetary losses of the construction companies.
Potential Threats to Construction Sites
Construction sites can face a number of threats that can be costly and detrimental to projects in progress. Here are five facts about construction sites threats:
- One out of ten construction workers sustain an injury each year
- Nearly a fifth of workplace deaths are from the construction industry
- An average of two deaths occur daily in construction
- Electrocution accounts for 9% of construction deaths
- Surviving a construction accident is not without consequences/ repercussions
A few possible man-made/ natural threats to construction sites are:
- Wind damages
- Water damages
- Natural disasters
- Acts of God
Importance of Construction Site Security
Security of the construction site is of the essence. A secure site can deliver seamless service and can protect any project from expensive losses. Construction sites, prone to different types of crimes/ threats fall victim to increased cost effects, unhappy clients, and delayed projects which is why construction companies need to effectively protect themselves and their workers. With technological advancements in the modern world, where many means are available to protect construction sites effectively, there are also people who can come up with innovative ideas to create threats and inflict losses on construction companies.
Practices for Construction Site Security
Completely securing a construction site from any threat of loss or damage might be an unrealistic goal but successful Construction Site Security accepts the element of risk involved in business and eradicates the causes by the following means:
On-site security means having human personnel operating on the ground on-site. Larger construction sites can benefit from this sort of security measure. The best advantage of this type of measure is that the on-ground personnel can communicate with people, devise the most logical plan, coordinate the efforts, and can provide the most efficient response. An alert security person, merely present at the construction site is an effective visual deterrent.
Zero Tolerance Policies On Site
Moreover, policies made by the company to avoid any untoward incidents like falls, electrocutions, fires, etc can also be posted around the construction sites and distributed to any individual who enters the project. It should be made clear to the employees that these policies are set to be followed and any rule broken, can render them to disciplinary action/ consequences/ fines.
Perimeter protection not only provides a sense of security to people working at a construction site but also is a potent deterrent for criminals to stay away from the site. The biggest advantage of walled perimeter protection is that the intruder has the fear of the unknown. Moreover, Fences, locks, observation posts, and lights are also powerful criminal deterrents. Any construction site equipped with a perimeter fence, coupled with observation posts, searchlights, and locks can ensure foolproof security of the construction site.
The most effective way to ensure the security of construction sites is to accept that anyone can be a criminal. Employees and authorized visitors can also be involved in thefts therefore, every item present at the construction site must have a serial number or any identifying number that can be registered. A proper log book must be maintained by the manager on-site, and all the tools used by the employees must be drawn and deposited back against the name of said individual.
Single Access Point
One of the most effective steps to ensure the security of the construction site is to limit avenues of approaches to that construction site. This will directly result in limiting approach options to thieves and will ensure a supervised entry/ exit to the construction site by the workers. Issuing identity cards, and placing registers with the names of workers on them at the entrance will further enhance the checked entry and exit from the construction site. This Security Protection Services approach can be best described as a two-pronged security approach in which on one side, it safeguards the construction site from potentially dangerous, unapproved, or uncertified workers entering the construction site, and on the other hand, it secures the perimeter of the construction site entirely, hence making it more difficult for unwanted individuals to gain access to the construction site after work hours.
This is a strong step in creating a strong security mechanism for the construction sites. Most modern construction site surveillance solutions are bolstered with high-definition coverage, recordings, thermal detection, and motion detection, and can also be monitored by security personnel, infrared sensors, and automated alarm system. Installing surveillance systems might not be effective in preventing crime but modern surveillance systems if properly deployed, can offer complete site coverage. In doing so these systems enhance the chances of catching culprits after the fact and recouping lost assets.
One of the greatest threats to the safety of workers on construction sites is other workers that might be doing jobs that they are not competent enough to do. Site safety should be ensured so that only those workers permitted to work on construction sites have valid and updated working permits/ certificates.
- No machine can ever secure a construction site better than the physical presence of a human being. Security personnel can exercise proper command and control, can interact with people, and can predict potential threats. It can take rational decisions to thwart any mishap and can exercise better judgment. This potent tool takes high precedence in a sequence of best practices for construction site security. Moreover, a comprehensive plan can be devised to hire a number of security guards as per shift timings and the area which needs to be secured to ensure an agile and alert response from on-site security.
- A construction company should devise a set of rules, policies, standard operating procedures, and a comprehensive list of Do and Don’t to avoid accidents and mishaps like fire, falls, breakage and electrocution, etc. These policies, rules, and standard operating procedures must be shared with all individuals and workers present on-site or coming to work on the job. Warning signs and safety/ caution signs can be pasted at construction sites and safety brochures can be distributed among workers to ensure a constant reminder for workers at the construction site to adhere to rules and standard operating procedures. Workers who violate these rules can be warned of consequences or fined to ensure the implementation of these safety rules and policies in true letter and spirit.
- The third best practice to ensure construction site security is to have a fence all around the construction site. Different types of perimeters can be erected/ installed, starting from caution tapes, barbed wire, handrails, and brick walls, depending upon the duration of projects and the scale of threat/ losses perceived in that area. To further strengthen the perimeter fence, it can be dovetailed with hang-around security, foot patrolling by security personnel, watch towers, searchlights, and even security dogs.
- Unaccounted tools and unregistered equipment are surely a step away from getting stolen. Proper log books must be maintained at construction sites to ensure a recorded use of equipment and tools. For this, it is also important that all the machinery, tools, and equipment must be tagged and registered and documented handing taking must be ensured while transferring these items from one user to another. Another step in this domain to further ensure transparency is to conduct a conditioning board at regular intervals in presence of competent authority to ensure that equipment and tools which are rendered useless/ expired or worn out can be charged off from the ledger/ log book.
- All workers of a construction site must be issued identity cards to ensure supervised entry into the construction site. Installing entry gates with the required identification ledger can be a proactive approach toward ensuring construction site security. Moreover, a record must be maintained of all the visitors at the entry points and visiting cards must be issued while they move around at the construction site. This mechanism will also ensure smooth and checked exit of all workers and visitors out of the construction site.
- Technology plays a pivotal role in securing our surroundings. Keeping this into account, the installation of cameras at a construction site will not only act as a deterrent but will also help in identifying the culprits after an incident has occurred. Further to this, different types of cameras (night vision, motion sensors, 360-degree recording, CCTV, and PTZ cameras) can be installed at construction sites as per their requirement.
- Certified workers and qualified staff are important aspects to ensure construction site security. It not only gives confidence to other workers which contribute to efficient working but also reduces the risk of being affected/suffering losses at the hand of unqualified fellow workers.
Safety on the construction site is important to protect workers, and the public and keep the job running. By creating a culture of safety in a construction company one can protect themselves and the clients from losses. Construction site security due to all the right reasons cannot be taken lightly. A weak security mechanism can result in losses in terms of finances and lives having a severe impact on the construction business. On the other hand, a safe and relaxed working site can increase work performance, lower stress raises productivity and can benefit a business by enhancing the satisfaction of the job. Above mentioned steps can play a pivotal role in ensuring construction site security. The recommendations, enumerated above are to be coupled together to ensure optimum security of a construction site as above mentioned construction site security methods is not designed to be used in isolation.