5 ways to reduce the risk of theft
In order to reduce plant and equipment theft it is essential to have a plan. Here are several steps you can take to minimise equipment theft. While nothing is ever guaranteed to completely prevent theft, use these 5 steps to help form good habits and reduce risks.
1. Begin with site security
Maintaining a secure site is essential both during the day and especially at night. Have the proper locks in place, durable chain-link fencing and even barb-wire where required.
An alarm system and/or CCTV on site can also help reduce construction equipment theft, acting as a deterrent to thieves. Also displaying clear signage as to your security measures further reinforces the physical aspects. Limiting site access and availability of keys, for example only allowing supervisors to have keys, gives greater control over physical security.
2. Light the site
Security lighting on site will act as a further deterrent. None of your locks, alarms or fences will be very effective without backing them up with proper (and working!) security lighting for your site. Lighting is an easy, low-cost investment, and it will most likely be the best deterrent for theft.
3. Know your plant and equipment inventory
Being able to quickly identify missing items aids recovery chances.
Keep accurate and up-to-date records of every piece of equipment you have on site and make somebody responsible for it. This might seem like a tedious task, but the detailed information you have on your vehicles, including GPS tracking, will increase your odds of recovery if any of your equipment is ever stolen.
4. Modern technology – use it or lose it
Technology advances on a daily basis – but so do thieves. Keyless ignition that requires a personal identification number to start the vehicle, similar to an immobiliser or RFID system. A telematics system can also be used to locate a range of equipment from large plant vehicles all the way down to small hand tools.
5. Be aware of your environment
You need to be aware of what location you are working in and what assets during your construction project will be at the highest risk. Theft and abuse rates vary from location to location, as do the specific types of equipment that are targeted. For example, PANIU reports have highlighted high theft rates of mini excavators in urban parts of Greater Manchester region in recent years.
Amazon was heavily criticized for selling a locksmith tool, essentially a skeleton key, for Ford Transits in January 2017. A steep rise in tool thefts followed before aftermarket vehicle diagnostic tools allowed thieves to enter a vehicle and decode the vehicle immobiliser in seconds. Aftermarket locks fitted to tool-laden vehicles are a must have.