Why Is Proactive Security Essential for Construction Site Protection


The construction industry faces many tough challenges today. Rapidly changing price points and ongoing supply chain issues make getting materials problematic. Ongoing labor disputes require rewriting budgets to pay workers fairly. The last thing a contractor needs is unnecessary loss, making proactive construction site security protection more essential than ever.

Following the right protocols saves money, and protects human life and health. Here’s why proactive security is essential for construction site protection.

Rising Material Prices Means Increasing Rates of Construction Site Theft

Those who have recently written bids know how high prices have soared. They increased by a whopping 20% between January 2021 and 2022 and continue climbing, although the inflation rate has decreased considerably.

When prices rise, criminals have an additional incentive to get up to mischief. For example, a common danger is copper wire theft — it has a high value in the construction industry as a conductor and insulator. The Washington State Department of Transportation reports copper wire theft has cost over $850,000 from 2021 to 2023.

Add tool theft to that and a crew can quickly begin operating at a deficit. The most commonly stolen heavy equipment includes:

● Mowers, riding and garden tractors

● Backhoes, wheel loaders and skid steers

● Wheeled or tracked tractors

● Graders, scrapers, wood chippers and rollers

Smaller gear — such as hammers, screwdrivers and power tools like drills — also seem to grow legs and walk away. A pocketful of nails may seem like no big deal until you begin pricing them by the pound.

Measures to Reduce Theft Risk on Job Sites

Crews can take the following proactive measures to protect their construction sites against theft:

Background checks: All employees should undergo pre-employment background screenings. Pay particular attention to financially motivated crimes and speak with subcontractors about the practices they use to ensure their crews pass muster.

Assign unique identifiers: Each piece of equipment should have a corresponding inventory number, and crews should keep careful check-in and check-out records to track where everything is.

Secure the site: Proper fencing is essential to deter theft and also satisfies OSHA requirements.

Lights, camera, action: Motion-detector lights protect sites after dark. Security cameras can catch thieves and help authorities recover stolen goods. They might even catch criminals in the act. Some areas may hire 24-hour security patrols to deter theft further.

Move equipment after hours: Consider moving expensive heavy equipment off unoccupied job sites and onto a monitored lot after hours.

OSHA Requirements Demand Proactive Safety Measures

Taking some proactive security measures protects your construction site differently — it safeguards you against OSHA violations. While the agency cannot shut down a job site minus a court order, it can impose hefty fines that can cost a business’ bottom line. Furthermore, violations could dramatically increase your insurance premiums, substantially raising the price of operating.

Part of proactive construction site security essentials include:

Fall protection: Site security cameras can ensure proper placement of supportive equipment when doing height work and the wearing of hard hats to prevent injury from overhead falling objects. Additionally, crews should keep careful records of fall-prevention training for compliance purposes.

Powered trucks: Construction site security — especially cameras — can ensure only licensed personnel operate powered trucks. It can also reconstruct accidents involving such equipment and pedestrians.

Machine guarding: Cameras ensure those using heavy equipment have the proper guards in place to protect safety.

PPE: Cameras monitor staff, making it easier to identify who correctly uses PPE and who requires additional training.

Part of comprehensive construction site security involves smooth communication systems that rapidly notify decision-makers of potential onsite hazards. For example, crews can keep hazardous chemicals in alarmed locations and receive instant notification when someone enters the space. 

Cameras also ensure crews follow proper energy lockout/tagout procedures. Electrocution accounts for 9% of construction deaths — there’s no excuse for not knowing if the juice is on or off.

Reducing Expensive Accident Cleanups

Accidents can cost construction crews a small fortune. Proactive security measures safeguard individual contractors against claims for compensation not caused by their representatives’ negligence and identify responsible parties.

Individual companies pay a flat rate for their employees based on the relative danger of their profession. Dangerous ones like roofing come with a higher price tag, as much as $80 for every $100 spent on payroll. Like most insurance coverage, your rates go up with each additional claim. 

Keeping your crews safe is more than a matter of ethics. It’s essential to protect your bottom line. Pay particular attention to OSHA’s “fatal four,” which include:

● Falls

● Electrocution

● Being struck by objects

● Becoming trapped between objects

Proactive Security Is Vital for Construction Sites

Theft is on the rise as criminals take advantage of inflationary costs to cash in on what they swipe. Additionally, OSHA violations and site accidents can price a construction crew out of business. Proactive security is essential to protecting your bottom line.

Taking proactive construction site security measures also promotes a safe and positive workplace. It increases accountability and transparency while protecting crews from loss.

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