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Staying secure

When the security of an organisation is compromised, the outcome can be significant: loss of, and damage to, property, plant and equipment, business interruption, loss of data and harm to personnel or others. Having good security measures in place can help to protect the company’s business, its people, its assets and reputation

  • Arson
  • Malicious property damage
  • Vandalism
  • Property loss
  • Terrorism
  • Bomb threats
  • Civil unrest
  • Data and intellectual property theft


  • Conduct a security review of the site before making any decisions about security
  • Controlling site access
  • Manned guarding
  • Best way is often a mixture of physical, information and personnel security measures
  • Guarding against arson
  • Guarding against terrorism
  • Assess the risk to neighbours e.g. a target for civil unrest and guard against those risks
  • Have in place suitable emergency procedures or a business continuity plan
  • Ensure that security arrangements for staff who travel in the course of their business have been considered


Security risks will evolve during a pandemic. Plans that are put in place must be flexible, since the situation often changes quickly, and will be led by government response. Security policies and procedures should be reviewed throughout to ensure that they are fit for purpose.


The pandemic may weaken security processes and protocols can lead to opportunistic behaviour to breach physical security barriers and gain access to assets or information:

  • Workers should be encouraged to think about security issues in order to prevent breaches
  • Communicate clearly any changes to security policies and procedures
  • Remind workers of the continued security threat during this period
  • Complete a personnel security risk assessment to identify new risks from changes in working practices.


Good risk assessment is critical to establishing what threats an organisation might face and therefore what security mitigations are appropriate to put in place.

In the context of COVID-19 and to help you make your work and workplace safe, a risk assessment must:

  • Identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • Consider who could be at risk
  • Address how likely it is that someone could be exposed.

You must act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk.


For security personnel, social distancing in the workplace may involve:

  • Using marker tape on the floor
  • Using signage to explain guidance
  • Implementing one-way systems
  • Reviewing entry and exit routes to minimise contact with other people
  • Limiting the number of people allowed on site at any one time
  • Limiting visitor times to a specific time window
  • Providing more parking areas or controlling parking spaces
  • Minimising contact at security offices for drivers/deliveries
  • Using physical screens and splash barriers
  • Revising visitor arrangements to ensure hygiene.


Figures regarding COVID-19 deaths by occupation, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), have suggested a high death rate in the security sector.

Measures to protect security personnel who are working in empty buildings or supporting a skeleton staff may include:

  • Supplying PPE to sites where required, including masks, gloves, goggles,
  • Antibacterial gel, and wipes for equipment use
  • Providing COVID-19 (online) training for security officers covering social distancing requirements and how to enforce it
  • Enhanced cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  • Redesigning workspaces to ensure social distancing and avoiding sharing workstations
  • Where people cannot be two metres apart, consider whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate, keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • Use ‘fixed teams or partnering’ and adjust shift patterns to accommodate this.

During this time, communication with employees is crucial.


Buildings may be forced to close or operate on a limited basis due to COVID-19. In these situations, it will be essential to maintain existing provisions of physical security and monitoring. Issues to consider will include:

  • Security patrols
  • Regular site inspections
  • Access control
  • Review of key holders
  • Continued/daily onsite presence may be necessary in some cases.

Visit https://barbour-ehs.com to register

About Sarah OBeirne

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