Preventing Theft at the Job Site - Ten Tips For Construction Managers

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April 04, 2018

Jobsite theft is one of those things that you never want to have to deal with - but it costs construction companies anywhere from $300 to $1 million a year. Most construction sites are out in the open and easy for trespassers to access. Workers may also be thieves. While most managers would like to think the people they have chosen would never steal from their work site, the truth is some people will. Jobsite theft is most often of tools or copper (copper theft is one of the biggest problems in the U.S. as a whole). So, how do you keep your jobsite from becoming a target?

1. Light the site, even when not in use. Local regulations may restrict how much you can do this (obviously, you don't want to be shining floodlights right into somebody's apartment window). Motion detector enabled floodlights can be particularly handy. Thieves look for sites that are dark and unattended.

2. Issue all workers and visitors with badges and require that they be visible at all times. This makes it easy to spot somebody who should not be there. Make sure that managers are included in this. Be a good example and wear a badge yourself when on site.

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3. Keep inventory up-to-date. This helps spot theft quickly and may discourage employers from getting "sticky fingers."

4. Install cameras. Dummy cameras can sometimes be enough to convince thieves to go somewhere else and employees to behave. Ideally, have several dummy cameras and one or two real ones. Consider moving the real cameras around. Put signs up to indicate the cameras are present.

5. GPS tag heavy equipment and vehicles. It is often not cost effective to GPS tag tools, but you might be able to use RFID tags to monitor inventory and track items. This can tell you who the last person who had a missing tool is.

6. Keep the jobsite tidy. This makes it easier to spot if something is missing or out of place or if somebody is pocketing something. It also improves worker respect for their jobs, the site, and their managers if everything is neat and in place.

7. Have proper, written protocols for securing the site at the end of the day. This helps make sure all gates are locked and/or chained, etc. In addition to reducing theft, this can reduce the risk of kids, drunks, or drunk kids getting onto the site and getting hurt. Employee training is vital here.

8. Buy only the supplies you need. Avoid having large amounts of supplies, especially metal, on site for extended periods of time. Reels of copper are a particular temptation to thieves. If you do have to leave valuable supplies on site overnight, conceal them or position them where thieves have to get past a camera or alarm to get to them.

9. Show up. One of the best ways to prevent worker theft is to be present as a manager. This can also help improve productivity. Show an interest in what your workers are doing and their progress. Do it right and you can improve morale by demonstrating that you care about your people. It can also reduce time theft by discouraging workers from goofing off.

10. Hire a security guard. This is an expensive option and may not be cost effective for smaller sites, but if you have tight deadlines and/or particularly valuable equipment, having on-site professional security can make a huge difference.

Preventing theft can make the difference between a project being profitable and not. With the value of the equipment and supplies present combined with the open nature of most jobsites, it is vital to take steps to prevent theft. Employee training can also help - if you need training and certification for yourself or your employees, then contact Lorman Education Services today.

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