Securing a Construction Site Toolbox Talk

Learn how to secure the construction site from things like theft, vandalism, trespassing, and more.

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Securing a Construction Site Safety Talk

For as long as construction sites have existed, the need to secure them has existed as well. The reasons unauthorized people invade construction sites are common:

  • Curiosity
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Joy rides
  • These crimes ultimately result in lost revenue, delays, and potentially fatal accidents. Construction and excavation sites are hazardous areas for trained and experienced workers and the risks increase for people who are unaware of the potential dangers. Therefore, securing your job site is a priority.

    How Can I Secure My Construction Site?

    The nature of the work being done and the equipment and volume of materials make securing the construction site extremely challenging. Thieves will steal anything and everything they can get their hands on. Joy Riders look for easily accessible heavy equipment vehicles to drive. Even the most basic materials like brick, wood, metal, aggregate, fasteners, and dirt pose tempting theft or vandalism opportunities. Here are some best practices to consider for securing your job site.

    More Lighting

    No one committing an illegal act wants to be seen. Where possible, keep your construction sites well lit especially when no workers are present. Unauthorized people will know there is a potential for being seen or witnessed in the act. There is also the impression that the site is being watched and there is the possibility that workers may be present.

    Obvious Security Camera Surveillance

    Technology today allows real-time camera feeds to be viewed and monitored remotely. It is common to see small trailers with cameras mounted on top of long extensions parked where new houses are being built for 24/7 site observation.

    Construction cameras can also be temporarily mounted to:

  • Utility poles
  • Fencing
  • Construction site entrances
  • Today a construction site can have the same CCTV benefits as a secure building or home. The company’s supplying the cameras will typically provide monitoring service as well so any unauthorized activity can be responded to quickly. Now construction companies and workers have the benefits of security without the drawbacks of having security personnel on site.

    Fencing And No Trespassing Signs

    Fencing and signage are standard furniture for most construction and excavation sites. Barriers to entry and posting signage communicate to everyone that the site is not a publicly accessible area.

    Where fencing is not practical, signage should be placed at the very least. Should something unauthorized occur, the responsible parties for the construction or excavation site will have a legal leg to stand on by presenting the case that the culprit ignored obvious signs or warnings.

    Hide, Take, And Lock

    You see this sign in parking lots everywhere advising you to secure your valuables in or out of your car. For hand tools and hand power tools, power augers, compressors, spray rigs, power washers, mixers, etc… These items are all made with some portability in mind and the tradeoff is that it makes them easier to steal from the construction site. Everything practical to remove and secure away from the job site when not in use should be.

    Securing Heavy Equipment

    Excavators, bulldozers, backhoes, tractors, and other pieces of heavy equipment present a huge temptation for joy rides and mischief by unauthorized people on the job site since they are often left unattended. Yet it is impractical to remove this equipment daily or hide it from plain sight.

    Keep It From Starting

    Locks and keys have been a part of motorized equipment security for decades and frequent rekeying and practicing ignition key security will help. Advances in ignition technology have added vehicle and equipment security such as:

  • No start settings
  • Combination ignition keys
  • Remote GPS monitoring
  • Take advantage of every security option your heavy equipment pieces provide to prevent unauthorized use.

    Secure Positioning On the Construction Site

    A common practice for securing heavier valuables that are typically stolen like generators for example is to put them out of reach when they are not in use. Have you ever driven by a construction site and noticed a small trailer on the end of a crane line, just sitting there in mid-air?

    That small trailer is likely a power generator with a trailer hitch on it that would be easy to take when it is unattended. Power tools that are designed to be portable have an increased likelihood of being stolen. Smart construction workers put these valuable heavy tools out of reach when they are not being used.

    Other smaller pieces of power equipment like skid steers and bobcats can be wedged or blocked into positions where they are impossible to move without other vehicles.

    Timely Delivery Of Materials And Appliances

    The longer materials are on the job site the more time someone has to take them. When it is practical, make construction site deliveries timely, so that materials are utilized as soon as they arrive and don’t sit in stacks or piles for weeks. Any materials that fit into a recycling category are prime targets for thieves.

    If the appliances ship to you in containers or crates, leave them in their crates until they can be installed and if possible secure them in containers. The more barriers to access there are the more secure these items will be.

    Look At Construction Site Security In Layers

    Theft and vandalism cost the construction industry billions of dollars each year. In fact, construction site security has seen an increase in companies focusing on this niche over recent years. Security on job sites requires a multi-layered approach and every construction site can use many of the options we have covered. These options can be divided into 2 basic categories; physical barriers and technology barriers.

    Physical Barriers like:

  • Fences
  • Lights
  • Containers
  • Timely delivery of materials
  • And technology barriers like:

  • Cameras
  • GPS monitoring
  • No start settings
  • While each job site will have its own security challenges, there are creative ways to use most of the options available today in combination to allow a layered approach. All of these options are very economical to provide excellent ROI. Many of the physical security barriers offer short term security while some of the technology barriers offer a more long term approach. Cameras for example can offer both as a means for security, monitoring, as well as evidence for prosecution.

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