You Must Control Access to Your Facility
Drivers, salespeople, service providers, customers, visitors, and other guests can put your operation at risk
Above: a driver security cage, which allows entry into a dock area door, but restricts access within the facility
It’s difficult enough to handle the people who are supposed to be in your plant every day, much less visitors. Even those you invite.
The problem has two components: safety and security. From a safety standpoint, you have no idea how an untrained guest might behave. That guest may not know which machines are dangerous. He may not know to use your specified pedestrian walkways, wear steel toe boots, or stay clear of running conveyors. He doesn’t have your safety training. From a security standpoint, guests can be problematic from a number of angles. A plant visitor who has access to storage areas has access to inventory. With even the cheapest of phones now having good cameras and video built in, a guest may photograph something you don’t want made public. That guest could also damage something, accidentally or otherwise. There are lots of wrinkles.
Safety and guests
I’ve visited scores of plants in my career. I’ve seen proprietary processes that would have been easy to film. I’ve been in narrow aisles where forklifts are constantly at work. I’ve stood next to more conveyor lines than I can remember. I’ve been on the edge of pick modules where I could have easily stepped off. I’m a veteran on how to behave in an industrial facility and around machinery for my own protection, but there are still particular dangers I might be unaware of. In many of these facilities, I was given some general safety tips, but not all of them. Many of the people who come into yours may not be.
- In 2012, we published a guide to making guests safer.
- See our guide to safety and storage and handling methods (PDF) you can use to help make guests and employees safer.
- See this guide to designing your facility with ergonomics in mind. The best way to both workers and visitors safe is to design your operations for safety from the ground up.
Security and guests
It’s very easy for people to wander into busy warehouses if attention isn’t paid. My experiences visiting a number of industrial facilities reflect the fact that once you are inside, you are rarely challenged, and that escorts are usually not required.
- See our comprehensive white paper on industrial loss prevention for extensive information on the ways thieves target warehouses and factories, and ways to combat them.
- Lay your warehouse out with security in mind. You can often reduce visitors’ access through facility design.
- In terms of activities you can take, some interesting research has happened on the surveillance front.
- Check our guide to avoiding worker compensation fraud. It was written to apply to employees, but some of the same issues can exist with visitors who might
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Marketing Director with three decades of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. He writes on automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations.