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Keys to Preventing Job-Site Theft

Theft on a construction job site can be of particular concern as expensive materials, tools and machinery are often left in plain sight or are easily accessible to criminals.

Discovering you have thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and materials missing from a job site is, by itself, devastating. But thefts of this nature can quickly delay a project, and sometimes bring production to a halt, creating an entirely new set of costly problems. For reasons such as these, it’s important for construction companies to take steps to prevent job-site theft before it happens.

General Tips

While every job site presents its own set of unique challenges, there are a number of general tips firms can employ to better secure a construction site. The following are some basic strategies you can use to protect your materials and tools:

  • 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 full time. You should also keep handy a list of people authorized to be on the job site.
  • Train your employees on how to best secure materials and equipment not in use.

Worksite Protections

Equipping your worksite with theft prevention features is an important way 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 properly illuminated at night.
  • 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 monitor your job site.

Controls for Equipment, Tools and Materials

The number of tools and machinery found on a construction site can vary 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 an accessible but 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 for 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, on-site inventory levels should be kept low to discourage thieves.

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 business property.

Be Proactive and Protect Your Business

Theft is unpredictable, but there are many actions you can take to protect your construction business—like speaking to a risk management expert at VTC Insurance Group. To contact a VTC agent near you, call 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.

The content within this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

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