If you are planning to reopen your business or, indeed, have already done so but are looking at reviewing your safety measures to protect staff and visitors from COVID-19, no doubt you will already have put in place the more basic measures, such as extra cleaning, sanitation stations, 2m distance markings etc.
However, you may not have considered using your security systems to assist in making your business safer. Electronic security is prevalent throughout business premises, most frequently used to deter crime and keep people out of places they shouldn’t be.
Matthew Marriott, General Manager – UK, Ireland and Portugal, Stanley Security explains that these systems are often multi-functional and may be leveraged to reinforce COVID-19 workplace policies and mitigate health, safety and security risks.
Maintaining Social Distancing
We are all now familiar with the 2m social distancing rule and all businesses will have put in place measures to make people aware of this, such as markings on the floor. In some cases, you may need to monitor this to ensure the distancing is being observed. CCTV video analytics software can be used here for footfall counting and / or crowd video analytics to identify when people are congregating in too small an area. The systems can generate an alert at a pre-set threshold. If you have CCTV cameras in place, you may simply be able to add the software to them.
Elevated Temperature Detection
Thermal cameras can have a role to play in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 but they are not medical devices and cannot diagnose COVID 19. They are solely able to identify and alert users to someone who has an elevated temperature. This could be for a number of reasons, so you must put in place a well-defined protocol for dealing with a potentially unwell person. Don’t forget that many people with the virus are asymptomatic, so a thermal camera will not help in these instances.
For staff who should be self-isolating, it’s essential they do not come into the workplace. An electronic access control system is the obvious solution here but ensure it’s one that’s easy to manage. You need to be able to instantly, but temporarily, remove access rights to an individual as soon as you have been informed of their health status. A cloud-based system is a good option as this can be done securely from afar.
The new guidance provides recommendations for managing contacts, including limiting visitor times to a specific time window, restricting access to required visitors only and keeping a record of visitors. An access control system can readily achieve all of this with minimum fuss.
Look, Don’t Touch
Government guidance specifies that you should be ‘providing alternatives to touch-based security devices such as keypads’. When it comes to access control systems, proximity systems that enable users to present a card or tag at a reader, without needing to touch that reader, are an ideal, well-established alternative. These are relatively inexpensive in terms of capital outlay, but they do come with the ongoing cost of issuing and managing tags/cards. To avoid that you could look at a biometric based system instead, such as readers that feature iris recognition. Whilst these involve a larger capital outlay, the ongoing costs are minimal.
In many instances, access control systems can be integrated with other on-site equipment to help reduce the number of people touching equipment. In offices, this could be printers or scanners.
With the aim being for the minimum number of people to work on site, businesses should consider the safety, security and peace of mind of those that are. Here, remote monitoring services may be advisable. For example, CCTV monitoring combined with the latest video analytics can monitor employees who are working either alone or in high risk/high security locations from a remote Monitoring Centre.
Review & Revise
To ensure the safety of all those on your premises it’s vital to review your health and safety procedures and take a long term approach. Employing appropriate technology now to help you manage the pandemic is an investment in your company’s future.