5 tips to help prevent tool theft from construction sites

Construction related theft costs the industry millions every year. And, with tools one of the most frequently stolen pieces of equipment, keeping tools secure and safe on site is a constant challenge. We take a look 5 tips such as, on site storage solutions to help reduce the chances of tool theft.

“More than half of builders in the UK have fallen foul of tool theft with concerns growing over a crime wave wreaking havoc across the construction industry. Tools are being stolen from vans and direct from construction sites…” CEO Federation of Master Builders.

According to research from Allianz insurance PLX tool theft is continuing to rise; increasing by two thirds between 2015 – 2018. In a CIOB crime report, 92% of construction personnel were aware of thefts occurring from their company. And, with recover rates for stolen items as low as 9%, it is easy to understand why it is so important to take practical steps to minimise the risk of theft.
Many thefts are opportunistic and often abetted by a relaxed approach to site security. Some of the most common causes of theft are ones that could be easily rectified. For example;

Unrestricted site access. Sites are often exceptionally busy environments with both workers and suppliers coming and going all day. If identity verification checks are not in place, then it is easy for opportunistic thieves to gain access.

Tools and equipment on view. Open vans and unlocked tools boxes are not only a temptation, but also offer an easy opportunity for equipment to be stolen.

Inadequate site security. A poorly secured site is like a magnet. The easier it is to get in and out, the more likely it will be viewed as potential target.

In light of this, here are our 5 top tips to help prevent onsite tool theft:

1. Invest in robust on site storage solutions

Site storage tool chest

Tools are particularly vulnerable as they are often seen as easy targets. Therefore, make sure tools, both owned and hire tools, are securely locked away, out of sight from any prying eyes.
Secure site storage solutions are an effective way to safely lock tools away, ideally inside a secure locked container or building. There are plenty of safe and secure storage solutions available for hire nowadays for example; mesh cages for gas bottle storage, storage coffins for copper piping, lockable COSHH storage units to store flammable materials and hazardous chemicals.
For particularly high value equipment look for high spec storage. For example, the Armorgard Tuffbank line has series of storage units with ‘Secured by design’ (SBD) accreditation.

2. Secure, well-lit sites

Working closely with Site Managers is essential to ensuring a site that is both safe and secure. For example, a secure construction site will have minimal access points, perimeter fencing that is difficult to penetrate, CCTV or similar security measures in place, strong locks on entrance gates, and well illuminated lighting. In a nutshell, the more secure a site is, the less appealing it will be to thieves.

3. Tag and register tools and equipment with CESAR

To help minimise risks tools, equipment and machinery should be tagged and registered. CESAR is UK’s Official Construction Equipment Security and Registration Scheme which uses identification technology to help track equipment. Signing up to preventative measures such as this will help reduce the risk of theft and improve the chances of stolen equipment being returned.
CESAR also has a micro security system that enables you to protect your smaller items such as highly power tools which are highly attractive to thieves.

4. Have a good inventory and sign up to an equipment register

Ensure you have a good inventory in place, so you know exactly what equipment you have on site. This way if something does go missing it is easier to spot and report. An electronic equipment register can help with this process, for example recording who last had the equipment and when they had it – making it less difficult to start the tracing process.

5. Scheduled delivery of tools and equipment

THX VANS in a row

Knowing when you have equipment arriving and leaving the site, helps ensure you do not have tools and equipment hanging around unattended. For example, when you are hiring equipment, choose a tool hire company that ensures safe secure deliveries through timed and tracked deliveries. This way you know exactly what equipment is arriving and when. You can then ensure tools and equipment are adequately supervised during these delivery and collection periods.

Unfortunately, tool theft is likely to remain an on-going challenge within the construction industry. However, by implementing some simple checks and procedures, such as hiring in on site storage solutions to keep tools and equipment safely locked away, you can have a significant impact on minimising the risk of on-site theft.

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