Establishing Gun-Free Workplaces: What Are Employers’ Rights

In an average week in U.S. workplaces, one employee is killed and at least 25 are seriously injured in violent assaults by current or former co-workers, according to Department of Labor data.  Most of those attacks involve guns.  To cut down on the risk of gun violence in workplaces, many employers have instituted policies banning anyone-whether employee or visitor-from carrying a concealed weapon on the property or premises.  However, in some instances such rules may not be enforceable.  

Less than a generation ago, most states issued few permits for individuals to carry concealed guns.  Today, the situation is quite different.  In 34 states there are now laws that require officials to issue a concealed carry permit (CCP) to anyone who meets certain objective licensing criteria.  Most of these laws mandate issuance of a CCP to any adult who has not been convicted of a felony; has no history of drug or alcohol abuse and/or mental illness; has not committed any violent misdemeanor within the last three to five years; and, in most states, has completed a firearms training course. 

The rationale for these laws is that Americans have the right, under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to bear arms to defend themselves. That right is meaningless, according to CCP supporters, if a person is prevented from having a gun should self-defense be needed.  Many CCP supporters believe this right should extend to workplaces, employers’ premises, and private property in general.

While people in most states now have the right to carry concealed guns, employers have a conflicting desire to control activities by employees or the public on the company’s private property. 

As of January 2005, employers in all states with CCP laws are permitted to maintain rules or policies that prohibit employees from carrying concealed weapons on the job.

Rules prohibiting guns in the workplace have been upheld by the courts, but there has been controversy whether the rules prohibit possession of guns in the employer’s parking lot.  In a highly publicized case several years ago, America Online terminated three employees who were recorded by a security camera transferring guns from their cars which were parked in the company’s parking lot at its call center in Ogden, Utah.  The employees were off work and planned to go target shooting.  AOL fired them for violating a violence prevention policy that banned guns.

The fired workers sued, saying AOL’s policy violated their right to bear arms.  But the Utah Supreme Court in July 2004 sided with AOL and said employers have the right to set policies banning guns in the workplace and that the right extends to the employer’s parking lot.

In some states, there has been pressure on legislatures to make laws allowing employees with CCP’s to keep their weapons in their vehicles while they’re at work. 

Banning guns on private property carried by non-employees, that is, by visitors, clients, customers, etc., can be quite problematic in states with strong concealed carry laws.  Employers’ right to prohibit employees from carrying concealed guns at work is based on the employers’ authority to manage the workplace.  But with people who are not employees, the employer can’t override the laws, which in most states permit people with CCP’s to be armed anywhere, except where concealed guns are specifically excluded by statute. 

Whatever rules one makes about concealed weapons may bring controversy, since there are people who feel strongly on both sides of this issue.

Insure Your New Boat with Proper Coverage

Before you go out and purchase that new boat you have been dreaming about all winter, consider the importance of also purchasing the proper watercraft coverage that you will need for your new toy.

Many people mistakenly believe that their boat will be covered under either their personal auto policy (PAP) or  homeowner’s policy. Auto policies do not provide liability coverage or coverage for damage on boats. Homeowner’s policies may cover only boats that have low value or are low-powered. So before going out and purchasing a boat, contact us to discuss the proper watercraft coverage that you will need.

Here are some considerations to make when it comes to figuring out if you will need separate watercraft coverage for your boat. These types of boats will require a separate insurance policy:

  • Any boat valued over $1,500
  • A sailboat that is over 26 feet long
  • Powerboats that have motors exceeding 25 horsepower

Insurance companies will often deny coverage for particular types of watercraft. These types of watercraft may be denied coverage:

  • Watercraft such as jet skis or wave runners, due to the high number of accidents with them.
  • Houseboats, homemade or kit boats, competition bass boats and speedboats.
  • Boats that are over 15 to 20 years of age due to a higher loss frequency (Note: It is also wise to order a marine survey or inspection of an older boat before purchasing, which can point out deficiencies in the boat that could cause you to reconsider the purchase or renegotiate the price).

Finally, when it comes to purchasing the proper watercraft coverage needed for your new boat, also consider purchasing a personal umbrella policy. This policy would be in addition to a watercraft policy and is especially beneficial if you are going to purchase a speedboat, one designed for skiing or any other type of craft that has a higher potential for loss of life or damage. Umbrella policies are relatively inexpensive and will provide additional coverage above the liability coverage found in a watercraft policy.

If you purchase a personal umbrella policy, use the same insurance company that provides your homeowner’s policy or personal auto policy.

Don’t Wait until a Fire Ignites on Your Construction Site to Start Fighting Fire

The wildfires experienced by Californians over the recent years are just one of the many examples we see when it comes to just how threatening and damaging fire can be. Since job site fires pose a constant threat to construction projects, contractors should prepare for a potential fire by periodically confirming that their risk management plans adequately address the issue.

Don’t wait until you actually have a fire on-site to start your fight against fire. The following tips have been recommended by the International Marine Underwriters Association to help keep construction sites free from the threat of fire:

1. No smoking – have and enforce a no smoking policy on the construction site.

2. Loss control plan – the written loss control plan should comprehensively address the risks of fire exposure and include specific objectives to be enforced by management on the job site, general safety measures, and a named person to be in charge of on-site safety coordination.

3. Inspections and logs – project managers should do daily on-site inspections of all materials and equipment, the work area, and any other nearby location with potential hazards. A running log should be kept of these daily inspections.

4. Hot works – cutting, brazing, welding, and other hot works operations should have a person designated to observe the working area, as well as areas adjacent to it. The person should maintain a line of sight and watch combustible products, sparks, and slag. The surrounding areas should be inspected for a minimum of 30 minutes after the hot works operation ceases.

5. Portable heating equipment – place all portable heating equipment on non-combustive platforms or flooring. Use recognized standards and/or the manufacturer’s specifications for ensuring the appropriate maintenance, fueling, and clearance.

6. Enclosures – construct temporary enclosures with designated paths for transporting materials. For the best results, only construct the temporary enclosure with non-combustible approved materials and locate it away from overhead exposures.

7. Flammable materials – the labeling and identification requirements of gas and flammable liquid containers should be reviewed carefully before they’re brought on the construction site. Make sure that safe storage areas for flammables have been clearly designated and that the area includes surrounding barriers and signs.

8. Firefighting equipment – keep firefighting equipment on-site and easily available at all times. The project manager should ensure that there is always a reliable water supply available for the equipment to connect to and that the equipment will adapt to local fire department equipment if necessary.

9. Rooftops – roof vents should be adequately cleaned to decrease sources of ignition like lint. Additionally, a minimum of one portable fire extinguisher should be located at-level during rooftop operations. Make sure the extinguisher has sufficient capacity for the fire risk.

Steps Homeowners Can Take to Limit the Effects of Natural Disasters and Expedite Recovery

As the fun and sun of summer arrives, so does the threat of many natural disasters. Happenings like earthquakes are always a threat, but floods, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and such are more apt to strike in the warmer summer months. There are three very important steps you can take to limit the effect natural disasters have on your life and property and expedite your recovery process.

1. Planning

There are some basics that any natural disaster plan should include:

* Always have several escape routes mapped out. Each family member should know where to meet, who to call for help, and where to call to signal their safety to other family members. Your family safety plan should be posted in a central location and the escape route and emergency contact numbers should be reviewed every six months.

* If possible, store irreplaceable items and documents like birth, marriage, death, and divorce certificates; passports; deeds; social security cards; expensive jewelry; and heirlooms in a safety deposit box during high-risk seasons if you live in an area frequently hit by natural disasters. You may also put video or photo documentation, a listing of serial numbers, appraisals, and receipts for these items in your safety deposit box.

* Scan your photos to your computer. You can store your photos with an online storage service or make a CD to place in your safety deposit box.

* You should have an emergency overnight bag ready to go for every person and pet in your family and always keep a credit card, emergency cash supply, and personal identification with you during high-risk seasons.

As far as disaster-specific planning goes, here are some key points:

Flood planning

Many people live in possible flood areas and don’t realize it. For example, those living in areas that recently had a wildfire and those living downstream from a dam could have problems with flash flooding. Those living in or near a construction area could find their risk of flooding increased due to changes in water flow patterns. You can assess your risk of flooding by contacting your local building authority and your insurance agent.

Since basements aren’t usually covered by typical flood insurance policies, those with a basement need a plan on moving their valuables to upper-levels. Do make sure that you have an escape plan, as discussed above, in place for your family.

Hurricane planning

Most people in areas prone to hurricanes are already on high alert during hurricane season, but do keep in mind that hurricanes and the stormy remnants are often unpredictable. The flood planning from above is applicable to hurricane planning. Additionally, you’ll want to have a supply of nails and plywood ready to go so that you can board-up your home before evacuation.

Remember, if your local authorities issue an evacuation, then you need to heed it.

Wildfire planning

Wildfires can begin unnoticed and spread rapidly with little forewarning. An effective evacuation plan is vital in many cases. If you do have forewarning, then stay tuned to the emergency broadcasts and follow the evacuation directions from local authorities. Remember to take your emergency evacuation bag with you.

If you’re under a warning, but haven’t been advised to evacuate yet, then you might have time to turn off your gas lines and propane tanks, soak your roof and shrubs with water, move flammable furniture to the center of rooms, and move large valuables to the safest location possible.

Tornado planning

Unlike many other disastrous events, leaving your home during a tornado warning is seldom a wise move. Everyone in your family should know where they should go during a tornado warning. While a basement is ideal, not everyone has one. You can use a central room; preferably one that doesn’t have windows or overhead objects. Be sure your emergency kit and phone numbers are in your designated room.

Earthquake planning

Follow the directions from tornado planning. You might also want to place an emergency kit in your vehicle and at your place of employment. Check to make sure your child’s school is also well-prepared.

2. Prevention

Aside from living in an area not prone to natural disasters, there isn’t much you can do to avoid them. However, unlike most other natural disasters, wildfires can sometimes be prevented. You can personally prevent fires by being careful when using open flames, maintaining your chimney flue, and not throwing cigarettes outdoors. Of course, wildfires can happen regardless of your personal care with fire.

You can help to prevent flames from impacting your home by creating a defensible space. In fact, some insurers are now inspecting properties for defensible space before issuing or renewing policies. Your insurance agent, local agricultural organizations, and federal agencies like the American Red Cross and FEMA are valuable information sources on creating defensible spaces.

The damage of flooding can also be limited by planning water diversions and landscaping as protective devices.

3. Insurance

Last, but certainly not least, you should make sure your existing insurance is providing adequate protection. For example, your regular homeowner’s policy most likely won’t provide coverage if a boulder falls or rolls into your home since such would be considered an earth movement and need to be covered by earthquake insurance. Another example would be your regular homeowner’s policy not covering damage from a water or sewage system outside your home breaking, or damages from a flash flood, as these would fall under flood insurance. If you obtain flood insurance, keep in mind that the coverage won’t become effective for 30 days and your basement usually still won’t be covered.

Scaffolding Safety


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics falls remain the number one killer of workers in the construction industry and the number two killer of workers in private industry. One of the most likely ways to prove those statistics true is to look at the number of falls from scaffolding. This problem was so prevalent for such a long time, that it prompted OSHA to revise their standards on scaffold safety in the late 1980s.

The standard that OSHA devised has been periodically updated; but it still contains several key provisions:

  • Fall protection or fall arrest systems-Each employee more than 10 feet above a lower level must be protected from falls by guardrails or a fall arrest system. However, employees on single-point and two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds must have both.
  • Guardrail height-The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service after January 1, 2000 must be between 38 inches and 45 inches.
  • Crossbracing-When the crosspoint of crossbracing is used as a toprail, it must be between 38 inches and 48 inches above the work platform.
  • Midrails- Midrails must be installed approximately halfway between the toprail and the platform surface. When a crosspoint of crossbracing is used as a midrail, it must be between 20 inches and 30 inches above the work platform.
  • Footings-Support scaffold footings must be level and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold. The legs, poles, frames, and uprights must be placed on base plates and mudsills.
  • Platforms-Supported scaffold platforms must be fully planked or decked.
  • Guying ties, and braces-Supported scaffolds with a height-to-base of more than 4:1 have to be restrained from tipping by guying, tying or bracing.
  • Capacity-Scaffolds and scaffold components must support at least 4 times the maximum intended load. Suspension scaffold rigging must support at least 6 times the intended load.

In addition to complying with OSHA requirements for the design and construction of scaffolds, employers need to follow other scaffolding safety practices. They must ensure that scaffold suspension ropes and body belt or harness system droplines are shielded from heat-producing processes such as welding, hot acids or other corrosive substances, or cut by sharp edges or abrasions. Ropes should be made from material that is not affected by heat or by acids or other corrosives.

All scaffolds and scaffold components should be inspected before each use to ensure that structurally sound portions of buildings or structures are used to anchor droplines for body belt, harness systems, and tiebacks for suspension scaffold support devices. Droplines and tiebacks should be secured to separate anchor points.

Employees should be provided with appropriate fall protection systems and understand how to use them correctly. Generally, workers should be protected by a Type I guardrail system or a combination of body belt or harness system with a Type II guardrail system. The Type I guardrail systems are capable of providing the necessary fall protection without the use of body belts. Where the Type II guardrail systems accentuate the scaffold edge, restrain movement, provide handholds, and prevent wrong moves, they still must be supplemented by body belt or harness systems to provide the necessary fall protection.

The requirements differ when single-point and two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds are used. Workers must be protected by both a body belt or harness system and a Type I or Type II guardrail system. If boatswain chairs, catenary scaffolds or float scaffolds are used, workers only have to be protected by a body belt or harness system.

Miscellaneous Professional Liability – What It Is and Why It May Be Right For You

Miscellaneous Professional Liability (MPL) is a catch phrase in the insurance industry for a single, pliable product capable of contorting to the needs of a wide variety of professionals seeking coverage.  Because of its unique nature, MPL has come to mean different things to different people over the years.  First offered in the 1970s, Miscellaneous Professional Liability was originally designed to cover any type of profession conceivable.  The boundaries would be that of the comfort level of the underwriter, and the existence of other products available, which would obviate the need for such coverage, i.e., accountant’s professional liability for accountants, etc.  In lieu of such other coverage, if the underwriter could mold a policy for the exposure and decide on a premium, coverage would be offered.

This model still exists today, however the times are changing.  What is written on a MPL policy form and the degree of specialization has radically altered the landscape of the MPL world, as have the needs of the clientele who purchase such policies.  In the past, MPL was the form of choice for those in professions that were either too small in number to attract large scale insurer interest, or too collectively unaware of the availability and need for coverage.  For example, while real estate agents today can still purchase MPL coverage on an MPL form, most Realtors, either individually or through their agencies, purchase specially designed Real Estate Agents Professional Liability.  This has prompted numerous specialists to develop specific forms for Realtors with more bells and whistles than an MPL policy will typically offer, and at pricing that is sometimes a bit more attractive than a standardized MPL policy can offer. 

Similar evolutionary trends are occurring or have occurred elsewhere in the MPL arena.  Once, a computer programmer could only find coverage, if lucky, on an MPL form with “Electronic Data Processors” endorsements added on to tailor the coverage accordingly.  Nowadays, with the boom in technology (notwithstanding recent turbulence to the contrary), MPL coverage for technology professionals has morphed into highly specialized forms with titles such as “Computer & Technology Products & Services Professional Liability Insurance” and can sometimes be incorporated into other coverages such as a Business Owners Policy. 

While the natural trend, as industry segments increase in size, is to break off from the MPL mainstream and offer specialty coverages, the traditional standby MPL policy works just fine for most professions.  Surprisingly, the MPL generalist may be able to offer a better price or coverage than the specialist for some classes of business.  Ask your agent to secure at least two quotes if available and don’t be fooled by the marketing and glitz.  Often the bells and whistles are offered because there is little value to them and/or the coverage exists elsewhere already.  Using your industry knowledge and your agent’s insurance expertise, you should be able to determine which quotes and coverages are the most appropriate for you. 

Although the definition of which exposures fit into the MPL model differs from company to company, and MPL Underwriters truly love the challenge of underwriting new or unusual types of Miscellaneous Professional Liability exposures (example: Fire Ladder Inspector), there is a great deal of overlap.  Following are some of the classes that a typical MPL Underwriter may look at, in no particular order:

·        Talent Agents                                

·        Publishers

·        Business Brokers

·        Funeral Directors

·        Mortgage Brokers

·        Third Party Administrators

·        Employee Benefit Administrators

·        Public Adjusters

·        Computer Consultants

·        Marketing Consultants

·        Management Consultants

·        Broadcasters/Film Producers

·        Barbers & Beauticians

·        Actuaries Association Management Firms

·        Home Inspectors

·        Land Surveyors

·        Public Relations Firms

·        Advertising Agencies

·        Trustees

·        Title Agents

·        Title Abstractors

·        Escrow Agents

·        Real Estate Agents

·        Travel Agents/Tour Operators

·        Freight Forwarders/Customs House Brokers

·        Printers

·        Notaries

·        Staffing/Employee Leasing Firms

Insurance Advice for after the Storm

Severe weather can come in many shapes and sizes.  It may take the form of heavy rain or snow, strong winds, thunder and lightning, and/or flooding.   When it comes to protecting your home and auto, you must prepare for the worst.  If damaging weather does come your way, here are some suggestions on what to do when the storm has passed:

1.   Contact your agent or insurance company as soon as possible to arrange a visit from an adjuster.

2.   Take photographs of any damage before doing repairs to your home.  Also, make an itemized list of all damage sustained during the storm and its aftermath.

3.   Protect your home from further damage by making only temporary repairs until your insurance company advises you further. Save all receipts for materials purchased for repairs.

4. Exercise caution when beginning repairs and clean up. Be careful with power tools such as chainsaws, and use proper safety equipment like safety helmets and/or glasses.

5.   Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the repair costs.

6.   If necessary, rent temporary shelter. If your home is uninhabitable, most policies pay additional living expenses while it is being repaired. Before renting temporary shelter, check with your insurance company or agent to determine what expenses will be reimbursed.

7.   Unless you have purchased extra coverage, food lost in a power outage is most likely not covered. Consider buying an endorsement to cover future food losses.

8. Damages to appliances from a power surge are typically covered; however some electronic components may not be. Check with your agent to see what your policy covers.

9.   Most damage to your home or surrounding structures from fallen trees is covered. Check with your agent or company before calling a tree removal service; those costs may be covered, too.

10.   Damage to your vehicles from fallen trees or debris may be covered by your auto policy. Check with your agent.

Preventing and Uncovering Employee Fraud at Construction Firms

Construction projects typically involve the purchase of costly materials, the lease or purchase of equipment, and payments to subcontractors, resulting in significant accounts payable.  It should come as no surprise that certain company employees might be in a position to accomplish substantial misappropriation of funds.

The risk of insider theft is almost always underestimated, as employers are inclined to trust their employees.  Many construction executives and managers who tend to pay closer attention to reducing the risk of theft by strangers, may pay less attention to preventing theft by insiders.  In addition, the size of the risk – in terms of the amount that could be lost — may be grossly underestimated.

For example, in one case, the contract manager of a construction company had authority to approve vendors and checks paid to them.  The manager made a deal with two of the vendors.  The vendors submitted phony or inflated invoices for materials or labor, the manager approved payment, and the three split the proceeds.  Fortunately, the company was a Fortune 1000 enterprise and had an internal communication program that allowed employees to request information on any subject.  When a curious worker inquired as to why this particular construction project was costing so much, an audit revealed the manager had pocketed more than $565,000.  

Certain management practices have shown to make it less likely employees will turn to insider theft.   Most importantly, create an environment that promotes honesty, and increase the perception that theft will actually be discovered.  Experts believe that an environment of trust is important in fraud prevention.  If an employer expects its employees to steal, they are more likely to perform as expected, that is to steal.  To reduce the risk of insider theft the best attitude is one of trust, while conveying that those who betray the trust are likely to be exposed. 

Most employee fraudsters initially start stealing as the result of financial pressures, such as: family, medical or other large expenses; desire to live beyond their means; gambling or drug habits.  Since most employee fraudsters are first-time criminals, they stand to lose a lot from being caught stealing, subsequently arrested, and possibly sent to jail.  Consequently, they tend to care whether they are caught and are less likely to steal when there is high probability they will be discovered. 

Equally important is a strong anti-fraud policy.  The policy should include instructions on how to report suspected fraud and assurances that the company encourages such reporting and will protect from retaliation.  Employers might even consider a confidential, dedicated telephone number for reporting potential fraud.  Honest employees are much more likely to report fraud when the organization invites and encourages them to do so.  Emphasis on ethical practices in an ethical environment, rewards for company loyalty, and clear performance standards are some of the practices that decrease the likelihood that employees will steal. 

Accounting controls, built-in detection mechanisms, reconciliation of records, compartmentalization of access and duties, requiring multiple approvals for expenditures, and frequent audits that include steps to uncover fraud increase the actual and perceived probability of discovery.  A firm’s accountants or auditors may not necessarily be looking for fraud, unless specifically requested to do so.  To reduce the risk, it may be advisable to consult with professionals about fraud prevention and detection systems, including making periodic informal or even formal surveys of employees about whether they know of any fraud by their fellow employees.  Where such checks and balances exist, it is more difficult (though still not impossible) to defraud an organization.

Coverage for theft by insiders is not part of standard insurance policies and must be purchased as a special employee dishonesty policy to insure losses caused by fraud, embezzlement, or other internally committed thefts.  Such insurance is available and should be considered due to the high risk of insider theft in some types of companies.

Deciding on Umbrella Coverage Amounts

One million dollars is the minimum amount of coverage for an umbrella policy. However, insurance companies usually offer these types of insurance policies in one million dollar increments and often go up to five or ten million. Some companies that target high net worth individuals may offer up to fifty million or more in coverage. Most people who purchase an umbrella policy choose the one million dollar amount, but many choose two million dollars or more. A rough estimate of what it costs for the first million is about $200 to $250 a year, but can be higher if you have more than two cars, young drivers or points on your record. While each incremental amount above the first million is slightly less, increments exceeding ten million can be higher.

The more coverage you have, the more bullet proof you will be if you become liable for a catastrophic incident. One of the best aspects of this coverage is that it’s very inexpensive. It’s important for those considering this type of insurance to avoid cutting corners. Shortcuts cannot be afforded when all accumulated assets from an entire lifetime are in question. Some believe that all they need is coverage for whatever their net worth is, but settlements and judgments can go beyond someone’s assets because damages are never limited to someone’s net worth.

It’s also important to protect future wages from garnishment. The future income of an individual who doesn’t have ample coverage can also be jeopardized. If the person who is injured earns a considerable amount of money, that individual is more likely to be a target of the best liability attorneys.

Although one million may appear to be more than enough coverage, the total cost of liability claims can multiply quickly. In today’s world, a million isn’t much. It’s not unusual to read in the news of settlements over well over five million. Losing the ability to earn an income and facing a lifetime of injuries or medical care can easily total beyond several million dollars over the span of an individual’s lifetime, not to mention situations where multiple people are injured, which would multiply the total damages. It’s important to consider what amount would be acceptable for various conditions. For example, ask yourself how much you would settle for if you were paralyzed and unable to work the rest of your life.

Anyone who has something to lose should have at the very minimum a two million dollar umbrella, but if you really have a lot to lose and don’t want to gamble with your life’s wealth, your options are at least a five million dollar policy, if not more. The coverage you get should be discussed with your agent, and it may not be a bad idea to get input from a personal injury attorney as well.

Don’t Let Crime Plague Your Construction Site

Whether it be arson, vandalism, or theft, construction sites are prime targets for criminal acts. These criminal acts can create some significant added costs, including insurance deductibles and consequential premium hikes; work delays; and replacement of lost equipment, tools, and building materials. Of course, such an event can also affect your overall job site and your client’s deadline.

The good news is there are several steps you can take to diminish the risk and financial impact of criminal acts involving your job site:

1. Research the work area prior to beginning a job.

Carefully researching unfamiliar work areas is especially important if you’re not planning to hire on-site security, but should be done regardless. The local police or sheriff department can tell you if a particular area has a high crime rate. If you ask, they’ll also usually be able to send a patrol car out to periodically check your site once the work begins. You might additionally ask friendly competitors if they’ve had any problems in a particular area.

2. Ensure the job site is well-lit and fenced.

Most thieves and vandals will think twice before acting if they have to climb or cut a fence and perform their ‘work’ without the protection of dark. Motion detector lights and lights with infrared triggers will illuminate when movement triggers them. This can scare off intruders and alert neighboring businesses and houses that someone might be lurking around. Most experts recommend using a chain-link fence since it, unlike many other barriers, will offer an enclosure that still allows visibility. Of course, chain-link can be a more expensive barrier. If it’s not in the budget, then designate enclosed storage areas to hold tools, construction materials, hazardous items, and flammables.

3. Implement an inventory system for all tools and equipment.

This will help you keep track of everything on your work site. Smaller tools that are easier to carry and conceal are often targeted by thieves. Assign the site foreman or supervisor to keep a running log of when a tool goes out, the worker using it, and its return. You can use an etching tool to create a serial number on any piece of equipment or tool that doesn’t have a distinguishing number. It’s also wise to put your company’s logo or name on expensive items.

4. Consider installing ignition cutout switches and GPS.

You can immobilize heavy vehicles and machinery by installing ignition cutout switches. GPS should also be a consideration for expensive heavy equipment and machinery. These are relatively compact and easy to install. The GPS will alert you when the equipment is being used, where it’s at, and if it leaves where it should be.

5. Security, be it real or faux.

A security camera isn’t just a visual deterrence to criminals. It can also help you catch brazen thieves and possibly retrieve your stolen goods. A security guard and/or guard dog only elevates the level of security at the site. There are also electronic devices that emit a barking sound to give the illusion of a real guard dog. Whether you actually have a surveillance system, guard, and watch dog, post the warning signs as if you do.

6. Control access points to the work site.

Whenever possible, a site should only have a single entry and exit point. Keep in mind that it will be increasingly difficult to monitor the coming and going of individuals on a site with each additional access point. You might also consider asking employees to park off-site.

7. Plan out deliveries and installations.

Items like HVAC systems, plywood, windows, and doors often come days or weeks before they’re actually ready to be installed. Since the target on these items becomes larger the longer they sit around virtually unattended, you should either install them to some degree as soon as they arrive; store them in an enclosed, secure area; or, most preferably, schedule the delivery as close to the projected installation time as possible.

8. Have a lock-up procedure in place.

Designate certain employees to ensure the day’s end lock-up, which should include ensuring that all supplies are securely locked in their designed area, vehicles are locked and key-less, and oil/gas tank caps are locked.

9. Involve the community.

Ask nearby residential and business neighbors to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity during non-work hours.