If you own or manage a business, you value securing and keeping track of valuable inventory and equipment highly. However, securing important possessions and records only accounts for a part of overall business security. We also encourage our commercial customers to take steps that ensure employee safety. In this post, we look at several best practices for keeping employees safe in the workplace. Each security measure will include a brief explanation and a few ways to accomplish your goal. We’ll start with a couple employee security steps that can help during a dangerous situation. From there, we’ll look at some ways to keep a threat from entering your business in the first place.

Place Cameras in Locations That See Your Employees

We discussed this concept in our Security Measures to Deter Employee Theft. Of course, cameras can deter your employees from stealing. Just as importantly, the presence of surveillance can stop other would-be criminals as well. A potential thief who feels watched may think twice. This can save a bad situation from happening before it begins. In addition to keeping watch over any items that burglars may wish to take, cameras can also lessen the chance of a holdup in your business. Employees feel more secure with cameras watching over them. In the unlikely event of a holdup or robbery, cameras make it less likely that events turn violent. They also make it more likely that the police will have clues and images that assist their investigation. These factors make cameras an important part of any employee safety plan.

An under-the-counter panic button

Small panic buttons that can be installed out of sight of the general public, such as this model made by United Security Products, allow employees to discreetly called for help without attracting attention.

Give Your Employees Access to Panic Devices

Many of our commercial security customers have us install panic devices after a frightening incident. Of course, we prefer installing these proactively rather than reactively. We describe several types of panic devices in our post on Panic Button Options. Regardless of which specific technology or type you use, employees should always have help at their fingertips. In most businesses, we install discreet silent panic buttons for employees to activate in the case of a robbery. However, different applications call for different solutions. Schools often have panic buttons that cause a lockdown. On the other hand, hospitals have panic buttons that produce a medical response. Whatever your case, providing access to these devices adds a tremendous amount of employee safety and security.

Take Measures to Control Access to a Business

Panic buttons do a great job calling for help if a potential threat arises. However, we always attempt to prevent these situations from taking place entirely. We have multiple solutions for people looking to control who enters a business. The ability to control access even during business hours adds employee safety to any commercial setting. We can accomplish this goal a couple different ways.

Intercom/Door Control Systems

A video intercom station shows people waiting to enter a business.

A video intercom station, such as this one by Aiphone, allows employees to interact with and grant access to a businesses’ visitors.

Intercom systems allow employees contact with any potential visitors to your location. These systems can take many forms. For example, camera intercoms allow employees to have a face-to-face conversation with anyone wishing to enter. Audio-only intercoms provide a slightly simpler solution. Most intercoms we install also include the ability to remotely unlock the door. Front-desk employees value the security and convenience these systems provide. Because we have the ability to install as many controls as you need, businesses also enjoy the flexibility of allowing multiple employees to interact with and allow access to visitors. Of course, intercom systems require someone inside of the business to allow access. Let’s look an option for controlling who can enter a building (and when) in the event that your business is unoccupied.

Access Control Systems

Access control systems make up a large percentage of our commercial security installations. These systems require users to produce a credential to enter a building (or a specific area of a building). Our post on the How, Where, When, and Why of Access Control details the various technologies that you can use to make this happen.

Regardless of the details for your specific system, access control offers many advantages. For one, visitors without a credential cannot enter your business. It takes very little work to add and delete access for specific individuals. Additionally, these systems allow you to track who comes through certain doors, and when. Finally, you can set up locking and unlocking schedules to control access for the general public. This ensures that only the right people access your business, and at the right times. This adds a level of employee safety and peace of mind that business owners find invaluable.

Properly Manage Door Hardware and Keys

In addition to using technology to control access to your building, you must use the right mechanical hardware as well. We find that many businesses are locked with inferior locks and door hardware. High-quality products give you an effective first line of defense against intruders. On the other hand, cheap locks provide easy entrance. Potential burglars see this as an invitation into your business. Here we’ll look at a couple of methods we use to make sure that your mechanical locking devices provide as much security as possible.

A Corbin Russwin Exit Device on a Door.

Installing grade one door and lock hardware, such as this Corbin Russwin exit device, greatly enhances your security.

Use Commercial-Grade Lock and Door Hardware

Of course all business owners and employees lock up when leaving the office for the day. However, the lock equipment installed in many businesses fails to keep anyone but the most honest of people out. This can greatly lessen employee safety, especially in businesses that are occupied either before or after regular business hours. The American National Standards Institute (or “ANSI”) and Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (or “BHMA”) have created a three-level system for grading the performance of door hardware. This three-level system gives the best hardware a “Grade 1” designation, with Grades 2 and 3 falling behind. Allegion, one of the top manufacturing groups in the industry, provides this very helpful guide to the three different ANSI/BHMA security hardware grades.

We recommend using Grade 1 commercial hardware in your business. These locks resist picking and drilling better than locks with a Grade 2 or 3 designation. Although you will pay more up front for this equipment, its warranty often lasts twice as long as that of their Grade 2 counterparts. Therefore, installing quality lock and door equipment adds more security and creates a better long-term investment than hardware that will require repairs or replacements a few short years after installation. Let’s take a look at another important step we recommend to provide extra employee safety with your door and lock hardware.

Use Key Control to Your Advantage

Obviously, even the best locks money can buy will not stand in the way of a burglar with a key. Our preferred brand of commercial locks, Medeco, provides a unique “key-control” system as well. When we install Medeco locks on your doors, we also work with you to create a list of authorized employees. Only these employees can copy one of your keys. When customers stop by to copy a Medeco key, we make sure their ID matches up to the authorized personnel list that we’ve been provided.

Additionally, you always have control over your key-copy list. This means that former employees cannot copy keys after leaving your company. We also track how many copies we make of each key and number each copy individually. This helps you track your keys much more carefully and accurately. For example, if you know who has the 5th copy of an office key, you know who to hold accountable if that key goes missing. Making sure that potential burglars — including former employees — do not get their hands on the keys to your business in turns creates extra employee safety for your current workforce.

Putting Together a Complete Plan to Increase Employee Safety

We hope this post has given you some specific employee safety ideas that you can utilize in your own business. At times, business security revolves more around inventory retention than employee security. We recommend keeping these tips in mind to help your own employees feel safe and secure in the workplace. If you have any questions about any of the security measures described here, please do not hesitate to contact us. We provide free site surveys to evaluate and help solve any security risks your employees may face. Together we can create a business security plan that leaves both your valuables and your employees as secure as possible.