As a homeowner, one of your top priorities is keeping your property and family safe from intruders. With the advent of smart homes and new technology, home security is easier and more affordable than ever.
The following are some new technologies that can protect you and your loved ones from criminals:
Doorbell cameras — Doorbell cameras are a great way to see who is at the door before you open it. This is especially useful if you have children who are frequently home alone.
Smart door locks — Smart door locks allow you to lock or unlock your doors remotely. This can be helpful if you forget to lock your doors before you leave the house.
Motion sensors — Homeowners can attach motion sensors to doors and windows. Even the slightest movement can trigger these devices and alert you to intruders.
Above all, it’s important to have a strong security system in place. These systems should include Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, smart smoke detectors and an alarm system that notifies the authorities in an emergency.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently unveiled its top 10 most frequently cited violations. The agency reports the leading causes of workplace injuries during its fiscal year (October through the following September).
The 2017 top 10 list of most frequently cited standards did not change significantly from 2016, with fall protection violations remaining at the top of the list. In fact, the top five most cited violations remained the same.
- Fall Protection (29 CFR 1926.501): 6,072 citations
Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of injuries at work. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how to best protect workers is the first step in eliminating or reducing fall hazards. This includes, but is not limited to, guardrail systems, safety net systems and personal fall protection systems in conjunction with safe work practices and training.
- Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200): 4,176 citations
In order to ensure chemical safety in the workplace, information must be available about the identities and hazards of all chemicals in use. OSHA standard 1910.1200 governs hazard communication to workers about chemicals that are both produced or imported into the workplace. Both the failure to develop and maintain a proper written training program for employees, as well as the failure to provide a Safety Data Sheet for every hazardous chemical, top the citation list.
- Scaffolding (29 CFR 1926.451): 3,288 citations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the vast majority of scaffold accidents can be attributed to the planking or support of the scaffold giving way, or to employees slipping or being struck by falling objects. The dangers associated with scaffold use can be controlled if employers strictly enforce OSHA standards.
- Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134): 3,097 citations
Standard 1910.134 provides employers with guidance in establishing and maintaining a respiratory inspection program for program administration, worksite-specific procedures and respirator use. Respirators protect workers from oxygen-deficient environments, harmful dusts, fogs, smokes, mists, gases, vapors and sprays. These hazards could cause cancer, lung impairment, and other diseases or death.
- Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147): 2,877 citations
Lockout/tagout (LOTO) refers to specific practices and procedures that safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service and maintenance activities. Workers who service mechanical and electrical equipment face the greatest risk of injury if LOTO is not properly implemented. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.
- Ladders (29 CFR 1926.1053): 2,241 citations
These types of violations typically occur when ladders are used for purposes other than those designated by the manufacturer, such as when the top step of a stepladder is used as a step, when ladders are not used on stable and level surfaces, or when defective ladders are not withdrawn from service. Most employee injuries can be attributed to inadequate training and a disregard for safe operating procedures.
- Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178): 2,162 citations
Each year, tens of thousands of injuries related to powered industrial trucks (particularly forklifts) occur. Many employees are injured when lift trucks are driven off of loading docks or when they fall between docks and unsecured trailers. Other common injuries involve employees being struck by lift trucks or falling from elevated pallets and tines. Most incidents also involve property damage, including damage to overhead sprinklers, racking, pipes, walls and machinery.
- Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212): 1,933 citations
When left exposed, moving machine parts have the potential to cause serious workplace injuries, such as amputations, burns, blindness, and crushed fingers or hands. The risk of employee injury is substantially reduced by installing and maintaining the proper machine guarding.
- Fall Protection Training Requirements (29 CFR 1926.503): 1,523 citations
Because falls represent such a serious risk, employers must train employees to identify potential fall hazards and follow procedures in order to minimize the chance of a fall. According to OSHA, employees should be trained to use fall protection methods, such as guardrails, safety nets and personal fall arrest systems, and employers should verify that employees have been trained by preparing written certification records.
- Electrical—Wiring Methods (29 CFR 1910.305): 1,405 citations
Electricity has long been recognized as a serious workplace hazard. OSHA’s electrical standards are designed to protect employees exposed to dangers, such as electric shock, electrocution, fires and explosions. Electrical wiring violations that top the electrical citation list include the failure to install and use electrical equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions, failure to guard electrical equipment, failure to identify disconnecting means or circuits, and not keeping workspaces clear.
Although it is important for companies to trust their workers and the general public, the unfortunate reality is that theft can happen at any time. This is particularly true in the construction industry, where expensive tools and machinery are often left in plain sight or are easily accessible to criminals.
Construction site theft is especially damaging, as the theft of materials and tools can quickly delay a project, sometimes bringing production to a halt. Accordingly, it is essential for construction companies to understand how they can prevent job site theft before it happens.
While every job site presents its own set of unique challenges, there are a number of general tips firms can use to better secure a construction site. The following are some basic strategies you can use to protect your materials and tools from thieves:
- Create a written security policy and job site security plan. These written plans should assign supervisory responsibilities, encourage awareness, and establish basic best practices for securing tools and materials.
- Contact nearby property owners and local law enforcement officials whenever you start a new project. These parties can help monitor your job site, particularly during off-hours.
- Establish a way for your employees to report theft or suspicious activity. Be sure to maintain complete records of any security incidents, as they can be beneficial to law enforcement in the event of theft, vandalism or similar occurrences.
- Conduct thorough background checks on your employees before hiring them on full time. You should also keep a list of people authorized to be on the job site on hand at all times.
Equipping your worksite with theft prevention features is mandatory if you expect to ward off potential criminals. Whenever possible, consider doing the following:
- Enclose your worksite with a security fence and provide limited access at all times. Use lockable gates whenever possible. Avoid using low-quality locks or leaving keys in the locks themselves.
- Ensure that your worksite is well-lit at night to deter criminals.
- Utilize signage to keep unauthorized personnel off your worksite.
- Walk around the worksite at the beginning and end of each day to ensure that no items are missing.
- Consider hiring security guards to patrol the construction site, particularly at night.
If possible, install security cameras to safeguard your job site. Overall, training employees on how to best keep materials and equipment out of the hands of thieves is your first line of defense against losses.
Controls for Equipment, Tools and Materials
The number of tools and machinery found on a construction site can vary heavily from day to day, making it difficult to keep track of valuables. That’s why the first step in any good protection program is to inventory the equipment you have.
An inventory should be made available for each job site and should accomplish the following:
- Inventories should track all newly purchased items. Copies of the inventory should be kept in a secure location.
- Inventories should be up to date and include photos of the larger, more important equipment.
- To aid in the settlement and recovery of any stolen equipment, inventories should include the following:
- The original date of purchase
- The original cost of the equipment
- The equipment’s age and serial number
- Relevant manufacturer information
Firms should assign one employee to be in charge of managing the inventory. This person would be responsible for keeping track of all materials, tools and deliveries.
Other major steps to securing equipment, tools and materials include the following:
- Utilize a secured area to store your equipment.
- Mark and label all tools in a distinctive manner for easy identification.
- Implement a checkout system of all tools and equipment so you can track their whereabouts.
- Establish a key control system for heavy duty machinery.
- Install anti-theft devices on mobile equipment.
- Lock all oil and gas tank caps.
- Park all equipment in a centralized, well-lit and secure area.
- Avoid using your worksite for storage. Remove any tools, materials or equipment that are not in use.
In general, it’s important to keep inventory levels low on-site to discourage thieves. In addition, creating and maintaining an equipment program can make all the difference when it comes to safeguarding your tools.
Equipment programs should make employees, managers, supervisors and foremen responsible for equipment losses. Under such programs, all losses are must be reported, regardless of how small. You should review equipment programs at least annually.
Responding to Job Site Theft
Even if an unimportant or inexpensive piece of equipment goes missing, it’s critical to report the theft to the police. While the authorities may not always be able to recover stolen items, reporting every instance of theft helps police establish a pattern that may assist in future cases.
When a theft occurs, respond by doing the following:
- Notify the proper authorities. Provide as much detail as possible, including when the theft took place and what was stolen.
- Contact your insurance broker and review the specifics of your policies, including coverages, limitations and deductibles related to personal property.
- File an insurance claim.
Following a theft, it’s important to take any additional steps necessary to secure your job site to prevent future losses.
Protect Your Projects
Theft is unpredictable, but there are many workplace controls that firms can implement in order to protect themselves. In addition, it’s important to speak to a broker to seek the appropriate insurance coverages. Contact Scurich Insurance today for more information.