Chairman's Message: Protect Your Job Sites

Words: Larry Vacala

Larry Vacala, MCAA Chairman

I’d like to point out the importance of job site security. It’s not only to deter break-ins and theft. Employees need protection during working hours also. Make sure all employees understand the potential risks and how to best prevent any loss.  Out of control Inflation is impacting everything we buy. Fuel costs are at an all-time high.  The price of materials continues to climb. Lead times are much longer. Some items are no longer available. Construction schedules are being significantly affected. If that’s not bad enough, our job sites have become targets of theft.  Over the past few weeks there has been a series of robberies targeting construction workers in the Chicago area. In all the cases armed men approached construction workers, pistol whipped them and robbed them. It is important to always be aware of your surroundings, know who is near you and approaching you.  Job sites will always be targets for theft because of the high value of tools, materials, and equipment. With inflation causing skyrocketing prices, people have become more desperate. We send reminders to our job sites and discuss the importance in morning huddles. Here is an example of information on our check list. “It is important to take all the necessary steps to keep yourself and the job sites secure. “
  • Remove tools and equipment that are no longer needed or being used.  Do not store on site.
  • Make sure fencing is secured and appropriate signs are posted to keep unauthorized individuals out of our work areas. 
  • Always keep gates closed and make sure the integrity of the fencing is maintained.  
  • Watch for anyone on site that doesn’t have the proper attire or credentials. 
  • Install adequate lighting or use the lighting available to keep storage and work areas well-lit.
  • Schedule deliveries to coincide with equipment needs. Do not store high value items on site, schedule deliveries and pickups to minimize the amount of time items are on site. 
  • At no time should tools or equipment be left unattended. 
  • Use locked storage boxes to safeguard tools and equipment when not in use. 
  • Make sure no doors or openings to the building are propped open or unattended. 
  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicles while on site. 
  • Report all suspicious activity and or trespasses to the superintendent and the safety department immediately.
At end of the day:
  • Be sure gates are chained and locked (take a photo of the locked gates).
  • Be sure Mobile Locks/Alarm on trailers are charged, activated, and placed on the inside of a storage container door or a gang box lid.  These alarms sense vibration and movement and will send an alert to your cell phone when triggered. 
  • Block storage trailer doors with boom lifts, forklifts or Pettibone.
  • Remove batteries, fuses, etc., to make all Pettibone, boom lifts, scissor lifts, etc. inoperable. 
  • Secure all scaffolding, stair tower access points and ladders.  
  • Secure fencing around scaffolding and boom lifts.
  • Secure all loose materials such as brick, block, mortar, lumber, etc. and weigh-down materials such as plywood or others that may be affected by high winds. 
  • Be sure all flammable liquids and containers are properly stored and labeled. 
  • Review housekeeping and leave the sites clean and orderly. 
  • Ensure that all windows, doors, roof hatches, and other access points to the buildings are closed and locked before leaving the site. 
  • Empty dumpsters prior to the weekend when possible. 
  • Take photos of the jobsite as you leave to document how it looked before the holiday weekend.
  • If your project has cameras, make sure you have access to view them from your iPhone or iPad
As the holidays approach it is even more important to follow these steps, so projects are less vulnerable to theft, break-ins, and weather damage over the extended weekend. Your situation might be different than ours and you may take different measures to secure your jobsites. Whatever you do, your goal should be to keep your property from disappearing. If nothing else, make it as difficult as possible for a thief to make off with your items.  Any break in, theft or damage to your jobsite will cause delays in the schedule and added costs to replace items. No one wants to make an insurance claim, because we know how it affects your next insurance renewal.  We have many challenges to contend with, especially the effects from our out-of-control inflation. The economy will most likely get worse before we see any stability and growth. With the midterm elections in November, we can only hope things will improve with a shift in political power. Personally, I hope for a Red Tsunami. Making our voices heard at the polls is the only way we can help change the direction we’re currently headed.   Dick Dentinger shared a quote from his dad. My dad used to say, "the construction industry is like going to a dance.  We're all out on the dance floor moving around and enjoying the dance.  But every once in a while, the music... stops.  Then Everything stops."            Words of wisdom from a great man, Bill Dentinger! Pay attention to the music! Stay Healthy, Stay Strong! Larry Vacala
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