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Biometrics are the future of construction

Almas Team
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As a business, your most important asset is your people. Keeping track of their experience, capabilities and competencies is difficult through manual systems. Having full access to digital CV’s and qualifications, as well as up to date information on project completion dates allow you to manage the movements of your workforce. All of this is possible if you use a digital onboarding system which is integrated with a biometric access control and time + attendance system.

Construction sites are busy and dangerous environments. It is therefore essential that any security measures adopted are robust without compromising on performance. In the face of uncertainty with Brexit, an aging workforce and an influx of overseas contractors, controlling risk is more important than ever. In this article we are going to explore how biometric access control systems and time management systems can offer you a one-stop solution to construction site security and management.

Construction remains much the same

Construction sites have changed remarkably little over the last 50 years. A look at this wonderful video of a bricklayer going about his daily work from the 1940’s confirms that! Health and safety legislation and a tightening up on qualification requirements have made construction sites safer. But the diversity of workforce required on any one site is still much the same (painters, plumber, bricklayer, electrician, plasterer etc.,). Construction sites were, and still are, very busy places to work and the operating environment is also much the same, being noisy, dirty and often dangerous.

Workers must have the skills, knowledge, training and experience (SKTE) to do the work that they have been employed to do or be in the process of obtaining them. If they do not have the full range of SKTE, their employer, or whoever is in control of them, must provide them with the training and supervision that enables them to carry out their work safely and without risk to health.

CSCS cards provide proof that individuals working on construction sites have appropriate health and safety training for the job they do on-site. By ensuring that the workforce is appropriately qualified the card plays its part in improving standards and safety on UK construction sites. Surprisingly, these are not a legislative requirement and it is entirely up to the principal contractor or client to decide if contractors must hold one or not.

Construction workers still constitute an itinerant workforce, often moving from project to project. Many are self-employed and work on short-term contracts. This means that you may have ten or more different trades present at any one time on any one site. In some parts of the UK, as many as one in five building site workers comes from abroad. This makes the management of contractors on a site a very complicated business.

Safety and security

Sites are hazardous places: live electricity, deep holes, moving plant, dangerous equipment and a continuous flow of people. Making sure that accidents are prevented is important. Biometric access control systems provide a secure way to prevent unauthorised access to a site. This means that you can you control which contractors enter a site and prevent unauthorised people from straying onto a site. A system that can help to identify and manage a large workforce is key.

Keeping costs to a minimum – especially in the face of a weakening Pound and Brexit – is important for any construction business. Any system for the management of a site must be cost-effective, reliable and be robust. Contrary to popular belief, biometrics readers can operate in harsh environments. They can be used with access points, turnstiles, barriers or doors. They can also be easily moved from site to site should the need arise, meaning that the investment you make is not limited to a single site or single build.

Construction sites contain high-value tools, machinery, vehicles and raw materials which are all much sought after by thieves. Keeping them under lock and key is not enough. A survey undertaken by the CIB revealed that 92% of respondents were directly affected by petty crime, with 21% stating that their sites were robbed on a weekly basis. In Ireland, over €8 million worth of equipment was stolen from construction sites in 2017.

In nearly all reported cases, ease of access is cited as a major issue. Integrating biometric access control with security lighting, and monitored CCTV, doesn’t just give peace-of-mind but the all-round level of security provision. Should the worst happen, you will have a record of the incident which can be used for insurance or by the Police. Both the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) recommend that construction sites invest in CCTV and other systems which help to improve their overall levels of security.

A large workforce

Dealing with a large workforce including contractors and sub-contractors can be a logistical nightmare. Systems which rely on cards/fobs or keys are prone to falsification, abuse and loss. Creating accurate records for HR, health and safety, attendance or payroll is much harder if you can’t be sure that the data you have is correct.

As a business, your most important asset is your people. Keeping track of their experience, capabilities and competencies is difficult through manual systems. Having full access to digital CV’s and qualifications, as well as up to date information on project completion dates allow you to manage the movements of your workforce. All of this is possible if you use a  digital onboarding system which is integrated with a biometric access control and time + attendance system.

Biometric fingerprint recognition systems are ideal for construction sites because of the ways they reduce fraud, falsification and abuse. ‘Buddy punching’ – where one-person clocks in for another – can no longer happen, as only the person who is present can scan their fingerprint. Using biometrics means that you will always know who is on-site, when they arrived, where they went (if you have multiple readers set up to control different areas) and when they left.

Almas Industries are market leaders, innovators, manufacturers and installers of CCTV systems, Biometric Access Control and Intruder alarms. We are SSAIB and PSA certified, which means that you can rest assured that our level of service is excellent. Our partnership with InnDex means we are able to offer a completely tailor-made digital on-boarding and biometric access control solution for your business. You can arrange your free, no-obligation security survey by calling us on 0844 995 9454 (UK) or 01 68 333 68 (Ireland). If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email via [email protected]

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