Risks, dangers and threats to construction sites
Construction sites can face a variety of risks, dangers and threats on a day-to-day basis. As building sites often have high value materials or equipment within them, this can make them a desirable target for criminals. With no security, or not the right kind of security, construction sites can be left vulnerable to trespassers and criminals.
It can be challenging, organising the best and most efficient security service for a construction site. The mere nature of sites makes them difficult to manage as they are often always changing through the different stages of development and different materials being onsite. As these kinds of sites are also often quite hazardous, this can make hiring security officers more of a challenge to ensure that they will display adequate behaviours in such an environment.
What are the threats facing construction sites?
This can always vary depending on the type of site, its location, the scale of the build and the time that it is being built. However, the main forms of threats can be summarised into the following
What are the risks of these threats to a building site?
- Property, equipment, materials and assets being stolen or damaged
- Operations being disrupted and delayed, which costs the industry millions of pounds every year
- Risk to life, whether that be injury or death, and may be due to intentional harm from criminals or unintentional (for example if they were to leave the workplace in an unsafe condition with electrical cables exposed, they could cause unintentional harm).
Arson and vandalism
Both arson and vandalism are both, unfortunately, common crimes; according to a research survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), around 91% of construction sites are victims of vandalism every year.
These types of crime are intended to do damage or leave a visible ‘mark’. Those that commit these kinds of crimes can sometimes have no particular agenda other than to cause destruction.
However, there are often cases where such damage has been inflicted as there is disagreement with the commencement of the build itself or other events that the building company is linked to. This can be down to ethical or environmental disputes as well as disruption to a neighbourhood.
To further this, the affects of arson and vandalism on a build can be substantial and the criminals can sometimes cause irreversible damage. This, inevitably, leads to extra costs for the build and depending on the extent of the damage could halt the project entirely. A high frequency of incidences involving vandalism or arson on a construction site cause significant delays.
Are civil engineering and construction sites prone to terrorist attacks?
Terrorism can sometimes be the cause of arson attacks or damage to a site. Although not common, it can still be a risk, particularly if the site itself has political or multinational repercussions.
Theft on construction sites
This is by far the most common crime experienced in the industry with 21% of professionals dealing with theft every week and 92% experiencing theft at least once a year.
Typically, civil engineering and construction projects contain highly valuable items on-site. With the most obvious being the materials, tools and equipment of the build and the more obscure valuable being fuel.
Fuel is used within a great deal of vehicles and generators on a construction site and is an attractive loot for thieves who view it as quick, easy money; fuel is near impossible to trace once stolen and is highly useful for most people and easy to sell.
In some cases, personal possessions are taken from the construction workers themselves, which has a greater risk of deteriorating the company’s reputation and lowering staff morale.
As construction sites are often changing so regularly and different people come in for shifts at different times, thieves may find it easy to make their way in undetected and make ‘quick’ ‘easy’ money.
All losses come at a cost to projects as they have to replace what was stolen, the cost of this can extend to the time that the project is delayed by in waiting for the item too, causing the replacement to be more expensive than the original item.
Preventing risks on a construction site
All risks should be identified and evaluated on a construction or civil engineering site before work takes place. This should be in the form of a risk assessment which should identify potential hazards and security risks and outline methods to prevent issues from occurring and how to deal with them should they arise.
- Deter – this can be done through a number of methods, whether that be fencing, CCTV or security guards. The more protected the site appears to be, the less inviting it is to criminals.
- Detect – this can be identifying a threat just as a crime is happening or identifying a criminal after the crime has been committed.
- Delay – preventing the criminal from being able to carry out the crime or from escaping before the authorities arrive
- Respond – the arrival of the police
How to Protect a Construction Site
The four steps above can be met through the methods below when used on a project:
- Restrict access to the site
- Protect the property and its assets
- Conduct a full surveillance of those onsite
- Provide safety on the site
- Give employees a site evacuation that is well prepared and controlled
- Communicate with the police and local authorities when necessary
Methods of construction site security
Protecting your site is essential, but what can be implemented to ensure that your site is prepared for any possible threats against it? The 5 main elements to a good security service are:
- Intruder detection systems
- Access control
- Containment measures such as barriers, walls, fencing, gates and bollards
- SIA licenced Security guarding and operations
What can security guards do on a construction site?
- Static guarding, patrolling the site
- Mobile patrols in a vehicle
- Processing people and vehicles entering and exiting the site
- Managing and working the technical systems such as CCTV
- Detecting potential threats and dealing with them before they escalate
- Responding to incidents
- Some security companies will provide you with free signboards with their guards to put up around your site to further deter criminals
Overall, the threats that construction and civil engineering sites face are significant due to their risks to life as well as their potential to have major financial impact on the company conducting the construction. By having adequate security measures in place, criminal incidents can be prevented or dealt with immediately and the losses to the construction company can be notably reduced.
Region Security Guarding are experts in providing security services to civil engineering and construction sites that ensure that your project is protected from criminal activity. For more information on our Construction Site Security, our other Services, or to Request a Free Quote, follow the buttons below.