How Secure is your Facility?

The MHA Consulting Team

How Secure is your Facility? Are you leaving your business vulnerable? What would happen in a disaster situation? These aren’t questions we like to think about, but they are neccesary.

On a walk with my toddler grandson the other day we waved to everyone (and every animal, including the birds) we came across. Like many young children, he is oblivious to the dangers of taking a walk around the neighborhood. He will take off across the street, run up to any dog or person, run out in the street when he sees a vehicle. I feel bad pulling him back, making sure all is safe as he looks up at me questioning, “Why are you taking this joy away?” As the adult, wanting to keep him safe, it is necessary for me to restrict some of his actions to ensure he stays safe. Now, I do let him fall, play in the dirt, walk through the water and plants. What is life without some dirt and scars? But it is my job to make sure he is not seriously harmed (along with making sure he has ice cream for breakfast).

For most of us, we go about our lives like my grandson, not worrying about our safety (other than the normal precautions we take each day, like looking both ways when crossing the street and making sure we don’t run into the person texting while walking). What a blessing that is. So how does this relate to the title of this blog?

Most of us recognize the various security precautions or technologies present at our place of business, such as badges to gain access to the building, access restricted by need to some areas, parking barriers, security guards at entrances, sign in sheets, etc.

In a recent blog we discussed weapons and facilities. That includes some items that are pertinent to consider here.

  • What barriers are in place in your facilities that prevent unauthorized access to critical equipment or areas?
  • What measures are in place in your facilities to keep people safe?
  • What are your evacuation procedures for a workplace violence situation? Are they the same as those for a fire? Should they be different? For example, in a workplace violence incident you may want to use both the elevators and the stairs.
  • Do all staff members understand and follow the procedures for visitor access?
  • Have you ever seen someone who does not belong in your building? What did you do?
  • What is your weapons policy? Does that include knives? Should it?
  • Is workplace violence prevention/reaction part of your overall training for all employees?
  • Do you have plans for uncontrolled person(s)?

We recommend that you look at the various measures in place at your facility and determine any weaknesses. For example, you may have access barriers in place or require that a badge be displayed upon entering the building. Can those measures stop anyone who wants to get in? Are they intended to do so?

Do you have any ingresses/egresses that allow entry outside of policy or design? For example, at Company A, there was a gate that did not close without manual effort. This gate was often left open and was accessible from the sidewalk of a main thoroughfare. Anyone could gain access to a courtyard and wait for a door to open to have access to a secure area.

What is your visitor policy and how easy is it to get beyond the main entrance? One of the most important aspects of safety is understanding what is a normal state and what is not. Training staff to be alert to surroundings and what may be out of place will allow individuals to raise potential issues or risks. As someone who visits many client sites and often is allowed to move about with some independence, I am actually comfortable when individuals ask if I need help when they do not recognize me. Far from being offended, it puts me at ease knowing there are some who recognize when there are people or conditions that may not belong.

Reviewing and identifying the policies, procedures and physical/technology items will make your facility more functionally secure without the feel of overbearing security.

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