The other day, I read an article from Construction Dive reporting data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau stating, “…the construction industry loses up to $1 billion annually in heavy equipment theft … that does not even account for smaller tools stolen from job sites every day.”
When I think about the amount of people, materials, and equipment moving in and out of any one given project, I cannot help but think there are technology solutions to this problem.
In this day and age, technology should play a significant role in mitigating jobsite theft. There are technologies to manage and schedule secure material delivery and storage, track jobsite assets and user engagement, and recover and identify jobsite assets. These solutions provide just a few options for protecting the jobsite from asset loss. The following provides a list of high tech solutions that should be integrated into your technology project program:
1. RFID: Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology uses electromagnetic fields to manage assets to reduce construction site theft. These systems include a RFID reader to transmit a signal to a tag. Tags contain a microchip, which stores and processes information. An antenna receives the signal from the reader and transmits data back.
2. Geo-fencing: Geo-fencing is used to create a virtual perimeter in or around the jobsite. A geo-fence that incorporates the use a location-aware device can trigger an alert in the form of a text or email to a user’s device and the geo-fence manager. During off-work hours, the geo-fence security feature can notifies the user when there is unauthorized activity within a specific area. Incorporated with RFID tracking, the user should be able to track and recover any stolen materials or equipment.
3. Security Cameras: Jobsite security cameras are a reliable deterrent to theft. Idle cameras can be activated through motion detection and/or infrared sensors that detect thermal activity changes. Some cameras are equipped with Wi-Fi, leveraging broadband to enable seamless video streaming. Cameras are continuing to improve and the cost continues to decrease; this makes the ability capture high-resolution images a viable solution for many projects.
4. Drone Surveillance: FAA approved drone services, such as ECamSecure, can be used to patrol the work site. Eventually, drones will be equipped with night vision and motion sensors to patrol construction sites at night. They’ll also have scheduled deployments from a charging station and fly a programmed route.
With any other technology, it is important to reinforce security technology investment implementation through:
Policies and procedures: It is important to have a company security policy program prior to jobsite policy implementation. This policy should be inherent to the company’s daily work practices and be able to effectively bolster a jobsite program. The policy should be documented and communicated in your company’s employee handbook, on your company’s Intranet site, and during your company’s internal training sessions.
Communication and training: Open lines of communication with local law enforcement are essential. Law enforcement authorities are helpful resources and can provide substantive information on how to best secure the work site. Additionally, they may be able to patrol the area to add another layer of protection. Let them know the hours of jobsite operation so they can be on the lookout for suspicious activity during off-work hours. Additionally, encourage the public to report suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
Management: Security-based protocols, which cannot be duplicated without authority, provide an additional layer of security. Policies should clearly define the individuals who have administrative jobsite security access rights, ensuring materials and equipment will not become attractive targets for thieves.
Jobsite visitor management: Don’t make the jobsite easily accessible to strangers. Ask for identification and understand their purpose for being at the jobsite.