Security is big business in Australia, with the industry generating around $6 billion in revenue every year. And little wonder, as the top priority for every company is protecting its property and people.

Safety and security begin on-site, whether you’re running a secluded industrial complex or a busy office block. Here are seven things you can do in the workplace to create a safe and secure work environment.

  1. Do a risk assessment

An effective risk assessment evaluates your business’ policies, processes, premises, and activities to identify hazards and risks.

Small and medium-sized businesses may be able to do this in-house. Larger premises and organisations, however, should outsource the task to a professional security firm—for a big company, the stakes are too high to DIY.

If you do carry out your own risk assessment, then factor in the following:

  • Identify hazards: work out what could cause harm/damage in your workplace
  • Evaluate risks: how severe is the harm/damage caused by the hazard?
  • Control: identify and implement affordable and effective control measures to eliminate hazards or reduce risks
  • Review: periodically assess your control measures to ensure they’re working effectively.
  1. Secure the perimeter

Any workplace that isn’t open to the public needs a perimeter to stop unwelcome guests from wandering in. The optimal perimeter will vary depending on the risk of authorised entry, with highly secure compounds requiring additional measures.

Common types of perimeters include:

  • Simple wooden fences: suitable for low-risk sites like agricultural facilities
  • Chain link fences: suitable for medium-risk areas like construction sites
  • Brick walls and barbed wire: suitable for high-risk sites like prisons and military facilities

For many businesses, the exterior walls of the building serve as the perimeter. In this case, the only thing you need to do is develop a system to provide access to your staff.

  1. Set up staff access

Identify an effective and affordable staff access system to ensure only authorised personnel can reach the sensitive areas of your site. As with the perimeter, the ideal staff access solution depends on the nature of the business.

Public-facing companies like doctor’s surgeries usually allocate this responsibility to the receptionist, who sits at the front of the house during business hours.

Big office blocks, on the other hand, tend to set up a swipe card or pin code access system, through which authorised staff can gain entry without speaking to a receptionist. Smaller businesses may opt for a video intercom so they can buzz visitors in remotely.

Many companies also need to allocate access to specific areas within the workplace, for example, the staff who can access the server room or sensitive archives.

  1. Install adequate lighting

A well-lit workplace improves both safety and security, so it’s worth installing adequate lighting throughout your premises.

A poorly lit area could cause a staff member to fall, potentially resulting in a costly worker’s compensation claim. Bad lighting can also tempt would-be thieves or intruders, who prefer to operate under cover of darkness.

Consider floodlights for large outdoor areas and less powerful LED lights for smaller spaces and indoor use. Motion sensors are superb when you don’t want to light up an area permanently or need to save on your electricity bill.

  1. Get a wireless alarm system

A wireless alarm system will provide a high level of protection for your workplace, and these cutting edge solutions are now more affordable than ever.

Identify the most critical workplace hazards and risks then set up your system with the appropriate components: cameras, smoke alarms, keypad access points, motion detectors, sirens, and strobe lights.

Because all these different functions work in synergy, a wireless alarm system can streamline your safety and security efforts.

  1. Set policies and train staff

Building a safe and secure workplace is a team effort, so you need to ensure all staff is on board.

As part of your risk assessment, draft a set of safety and security policies to mitigate critical hazards and risks. These policies govern how staff should act, both during normal operations and in the event of a security breach.

Ensure your policies comply with both federal and state government work, health, and safety (WHS) guidelines.

  1. Develop an emergency response plan

Having an appropriate response plan in place will mitigate the impact of an emergency event and allow your business to quickly return to normal operations. Well-crafted emergency response plans are designed to protect your premises, property, people, and the environment.

Common emergencies you need to prepare for include fire, natural disasters, accidents and medical issues, exposure to hazardous materials, and unauthorised entry.

  • Set an evacuation plan and ensure exit routes are appropriate and accessible
  • Designate an evacuation meeting point and allocate staff to perform a headcount
  • Ensure fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and alarms are in good working condition and comply with WHS regulations
  • Make provisions for disabled workers and assign wardens to take responsibility during an emergency

Maintaining the safety and security of your workplace is of utmost importance for every business. Incorporate these strategies into your business operations to safeguard your people, property, and premises.

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