When considering strategies to improve workplace safety, it’s common to focus on additional security guards or surveillance cameras. Both are part of a comprehensive security program, but what about the design of your office space? Is it leaving unacceptable vulnerabilities or making your security guards’ job harder?
What impact does office space design have in workplace security?
Consider this: Your workplace is OSHA compliant; you’ve instituted an access control system and have strategically installed surveillance cameras. You have established a strategy to identify high-risk employees and a workplace violence prevention plan. If your building is in a high-risk area, you may even have a fenced campus or parking lot. But is this enough? There are several factors to consider in the actual design.
Ease of movement
While access control can prevent the wrong people from getting into your building, in a dangerous situation, it’s essential that employees or other authorized personnel have freedom of movement. Establish a zero-tolerance policy for impediments such as large furniture in narrow hallways or storage boxes that are not in their proper place.
In situations such as a fire or active shooter, your employees need to be able to evacuate quickly and safely, and police, fire or security personnel must have quick and complete access. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that workplaces have an active shooter emergency action plan which depends heavily on employees being able to leave the premises quickly.
Lines of sight
To ensure that lines of sight are clear, when designing a space, don’t let aesthetics alone rule. For example, a large wall hanging placed for decorative purposes can provide cover for illicit or dangerous behavior. Parking lots and outside areas should be well lit, and cameras placed to avoid blind spots that can occur behind landscaping or other external features.
Require credentials for entrance to all buildings and keep them under tight control. Ensure that former employees turn in any access passes and that visitors can be closely tracked. Design and limit the areas of egress so anyone entering can be monitored.
All visitors and deliveries should to a single door which is monitored by a security guard or can only be accessed via intercom, requiring an authorized employee to permit entrance.
Need additional advice on designing a secure office space?
Trust experts at BOS Security. We help keep commercial and residential buildings secure 24/7/365. If you would like more information on secure office design, or other strategies to keep your building and people safe and secure, contact us at 404-793-6965.