How Security Technology Advances Can Make for a Safer Workplace

April 27, 2023|Drew Deatherage, Jason Keller, Chad Pressley, Dennis Porter

Workplace violence is on the rise, yet few employers are prepared to prevent or respond to a violent incident. The National Safety Council’s Workplace Violence: Using Technology to Reduce Risk report found that nearly half of U.S. employers believe they are unprepared to prevent or respond to violent incidents. Yet in 2020 alone there were more than 37,000 nonfatal injuries in the workplace resulting from intentional injury by another person, and 392 workplace homicides, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With appropriate security policies and response protocols in place, many of these potential threats can be deescalated. And with today’s security technology advancements, building owners and occupants gain access to powerful support tools and opportunities to alert personnel to threats far earlier to prevent major incidents.

Better visitor tracking

Risk prevention relies on sound policies, including proactive and frequent employee training, consistent recordkeeping that tracks incident trends and potential risks, and communication with employees about their understanding of risks can all help build a more safe and secure environment. Yet more eyes looking out for risks is always better, and this is where today’s technology advancements can provide greater help. Advancing security technology can make for safer facilities and more valuable real estate.

While visitor management systems are not new, today’s options provide a range of useful additional information as they vet and track anyone who enters your building. These systems are increasingly paired with advancements in physical identity access management that can help employers not only vet visitors but also audit security privileges. This technology can streamline the registration and check-in process while automatically screening visitors against watchlists or for contractor compliance requirements, among other factors. Emerging solutions are integration biometric features that further speed the check-in process while preventing tailgating, in which someone slips into the building behind an authorized visitor.

These systems can integrate a range of technology solutions to reduce risk and enhance your visitor’s experience. Controlling access to the building is a cornerstone of physical security. Access should only be allowed to persons who are authorized, and only during the days and times at which they have been given authorization. Visitor management systems integrated with access control make it easier to limit where visitors can go, reflecting information printed on their badge about areas for which they have been granted. Electronic access control can also be set up to lock down the building in the event of a hostile visitor as well as alert first responders of an emergency.

Of course, it’s now easier for employers to identify potential risks before visitors or employees ever step foot on their property. Before a violent attack, perpetrators often first speak out, often on social media. Software is available that can monitor and analyze social media posts about a specific company, brand, location, or keyword. These tools can be used proactively to help identify potential threats and keep workplaces safe.

Gain more watchful eyes and ears

Much like visitor management systems, other traditional security technologies are advancing to detect an issue and initiate a response. The resulting response may alleviate the impact of an incident. Cameras with Cloud-based computing and AI-driven analytics are increasingly being paired with thermal, radar, and audio technology to continuously monitor facilities in real time. The analytics technology can be programmed to identify specific actions and behaviors. If the action or behaviors are identified, the system can trigger an alert or a predetermined sequence of events.

Video analytics can monitor schemes in real time for specific objects, occupancy estimation, or to detect people in prohibited areas. AI-supported video analytics can watch cameras for suspicious behavior more consistently and thoroughly than a human. Similarly, a device equipped with audio analytics can trigger alerts based on a car alarm, gunshot, shouting, or other verbal forms of aggression.

Speed response with flexible duress systems

Given the increasing rates of workplace violence, more buildings are also installing duress systems that speed response from emergency responders. Any facility in which public interactions occur – from schools and healthcare facilities to malls and factories – can incorporate a duress system.

These systems no longer need to be hardwired into a specific location, as many offer virtual options. From smartphone apps to badge buttons, today’s wireless duress systems can be set up to lock doors, initiate an auto dialer, and direct authorities to the exact location of the individual requesting help.

3 security technology pitfalls to avoid

While advancing security technology can greatly support building security, it can also create a false sense of security. In fact, one of the biggest risks to effective workplace security is assuming that a technology investment on its own will keep people safe. Technology should only be used to support the existing policies and protocols that truly safeguard people. When implementing new solutions, it is critical to ensure it ties back into security policies, is routinely updated and maintained, and that there is adequate staff to perform maintenance and manage any necessary response.

Another potential risk can come through introducing new technology without updating protocols and training staff on how to use the installed systems on a regular basis. For example, one company faced a technology failure after an identified threat sought to gain entry into a building. When the assailant approached the building, an employee moved to lock the door with a key. However, the employee’s movements triggered the motion detector within the access control hardware that consequently unlocked the door and let the assailant enter. While a duress system may have helped automatically override the request to exit, a more comprehensive understanding of risks and response might have prevented the conflict between protocol and security.

Finally, one of the most serious risks to your building security is accepting the way things have always been done. “The way things have always been done” works until it doesn’t. Improvement should be an ongoing process of identifying potential gaps and new solutions. This includes evaluating and tightening the safety policies and procedures that drive incident prevention and response and support any technology investments.

Identifying these gaps on your own can be difficult. Learn more about CRUX’s comprehensive security solutions or contact us to learn more about how security technology can make your building safer.

Categories: blog, Security Technology