For companies, prevention is the key to keeping their people and property secure. The feeling of safety is very important to most employees. When they feel safe, they are better able to concentrate on and perform their work duties. There are several basic steps companies can take to keep their workers and property from becoming safety statistics.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, each week in 1996 an average of 18,000 Americans were assaulted while working. In addition, the 1996 Pinkerton Security Issues Survey Report states that for the third year in a row, businesses ranked workplace violence as their top concern.
“We help companies protect their employees and property,” explains Don Kinser (Atlanta), president of EDI ltd. Consulting Engineers, which specializes in commercial security systems. “Basically we try to determine what the threats are to a business’ employees and property. Once we define those threats, we look for countermeasures that will help them protect themselves. In terms of safety, companies need to be doing at least what their neighbors are doing, preferably more.”
Questions you need to ask when developing a security program include:
- What are the current threats?
- Are there any foreseeable new threats?
- What security measures have been taken in the past?
- Are current security measures still effective? Case Study EDI was hired a few years ago to create a security system for Hewlett-Packard’s 28-story building in Atlanta”The facility houses 2,500 to 3,000 people and there’s all kinds of different operations,” Don says. “There’s such a diverse list of activities going on at all hours, and not everyone needs access to all areas of the building. There’s no way you can know everyone who is coming and going, and you certainly don’t want to issue keys to everyone.”
EDI took several steps to ensure Hewlett-Packard’s property and employees would be secure.
- The perimeter of the building and all decks of the parking garage were equipped with surveillance cameras.
- Substantial controls were placed on every access point into the building.
- Card keys were given to employees, confining their access only to specifically designated areas. (Card keys are easy to invalidate and you don’t have to worry about an employee having a key to your front door.)”All of Hewlett-Packard’s security components are controlled through computers that determine who can go through which doors and at what times they are allowed access. There are more than 250 access-controlled doors, more than 100 cameras and more than 40 miles of cable for security.”Prevention is Key
“The feeling of safety is as important as the security system,” Don notes. “If the normal person feels safe, the person there to do harm doesn’t. Make it obvious you have a security presence.
“The best thing you can do is try to prevent something from happening. If you can prevent it, you never have to worry about defending it. Ninety percent of the game is prevention.”
Safety and Security Magazine recommends several safety tips for you and your employees including:
- Trust your intuition. If you feel you are in danger, act immediately. It is better to be embarrassed than be victimized.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Be watchful of suspicious characters or vehicles.
- If you are attacked, attract attention by yelling for help.
- When approaching your car, observe the surrounding area looking for any suspicious persons.
- When possible, avoid using stairwells and be careful when using bathrooms.
- When you go out, tell a co-worker where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Be aware of strangers that may enter the office.
- Do not leave valuables in or on your desk.
- When you enter an elevator, if someone looks suspicious do not get in. When in an elevator try to stay by the control panel and note the location of the emergency button.