Safety and Security Buying Guide

Contents

Introduction

Keeping valuables safe and secure

Do you really need a safe?

Considerations before purchasing a safe

Types of safe

Specialist safes

Controlling keys and access

Taking care of your keys

Storing hazardous materials

What to look for in a hazardous material storage unit

Further information

Introduction to Safety & Security

Keeping your business safe and secure is sure to be one of your top priorities. Losses through theft, vandalism, accident and injury can be fatal to any business, so investing in increased security measures is going to be money well spent.

If your business holds valuable assets on site, you might be thinking about purchasing a safe. But which sort will suit your needs and accommodate your items the best? There are a whole host of choices out there, and we’ll explain which is going to be the best for your requirements.

Maybe you need to store specialist items, such as drugs, guns, hazardous materials or highly sensitive data. There are many solutions available that will help you deal with these issues, so let us guide your choices and help you make the right investment.

Controlling who gets in and out of your building and when is critical to keeping everything safe and well protected. Should you splash out on an all singing, all dancing high tech door access solution, or are some simple coded locks all you really need? Once you’ve decided on this, how can you keep your keys safe and organised, and ensure the right people have access to them when they need to?

If your security is breached, how are you going to know about it? What can you do to deter thieves and vandals from targeting your business, without spending a fortune on security guards and high-tech surveillance? Do you need CCTV, or is there another way to deal with this risk?

Finally, how do you plan to manage the flow of people around your premises, particularly if there are hazards to contend with? There are many solutions to keep people separate from dangerous areas, but which is the best for you?

For the answers to all this and more, our guide will help you put together a full safety and security plan for your business, and will ensure you spend your budget on the right things for your needs. Talk to us for more in depth, personalised information about the products we sell and how your needs can be met.

Keeping valuables safe and secure

If you’re choosing a safe for your business, no doubt you’re already overwhelmed by the choice and variety available. The marketplace is flooded with safes and lockable storage solutions, making it hard for anyone not in the security business to understand what they need. Here’s what you need to know:

Do you really need a safe?

Protecting your valuables, assets and sensitive items is crucial for any business. But will a lockable filing cabinet do, or should you invest in a proper safe? Here are some of the main reasons we sell our safes, and good reasons for you to be thinking about it too.

  • You deal with cash: Any business handling cash should definitely have a safe on the premises, to protect against potential losses resulting from theft, fraud or burglary.
  • You possess sensitive data: If your business handles sensitive information, such as a government department or financial business, these should be locked away for data protection, or indeed for a fire. A locked filing cabinet will be suitable for some information, but you need to think carefully about how sensitive the information is and therefore whether you need a safe.
  • You handle controlled drugs: As a pharmaceutical company, hospital or care facility, you need to keep controlled drugs under lock and key.
  • You possess guns, air rifles or firearms: These must be kept in a locked, purpose built gun cabinet and the cabinet must be secured to the floor, wall or both.
  • You have crucial or sensitive electronic data: If you keep data on passports, flash drives or other electronic storage, this should be securely locked away to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.
  • Your insurance policy requires it: Some insurance agreements require you to use a safe to secure valuable or sensitive items.

If you aren’t sure if a safe is the right choice for your business, think about what it is you’ll put in it. If it’s just a few documents or some personnel files, chances are a fireproof filing cabinet will do a fair job. If it’s cash, deeds, medicines or other potentially risky items, a safe is your ‘safest’ bet.

Considerations before purchasing a safe

There are a few key questions to ask yourself before diving in to safe shopping. By answering these questions in your own mind, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and think about what features and functions you need to look for in a safe.

Insurance

Do you need insurance cover for the items you are putting in the safe? If so, you should talk to your insurer before making a purchase, as they may specify a particular security grade or cash rating.

Value

How much are the items you’re going to be putting into the safe worth? If you’re dealing with cash, this is easy enough to calculate. However, if you’re dealing with less tangible things, such as sensitive documents or medicines, it’s not so easy to figure out. Try to think of the impact it would have on your business or reputation if they were to fall into the wrong hands, and allocate a suitable value to them.

According to the European Safe Standards, safes with a grade 0 rating should be used for storing up to £10,000 in valuables or cash, whereas a safe which was rated grade 6 would be suitable for up to £150,000 in cash, and £1.5 million of valuables. The grading system goes all the way up to 13, at which level £3.5 million would be secure. For smaller needs, under EN144450, the S1 and S2 safes are suitable for up to £2,000 and £4,000 value respectively.

Fire

Do you need the items to be protected from fire? In most cases, the answer would be ‘yes’, but do think it through as you will be paying a premium if you want a fire-proof safe for your business. Most safes are fire resistant, at least, but a proper fire proof safe will offer protection against high heat for a specified period of time.

For example, a safe which is labelled as EN15659 LFS 30P will give you 30 minutes of fire protection for paper, at temperatures of up to 900 degrees C. EN15659 LFS 60P will do the same for up to 60 minutes. Be aware that there are other sets of ratings for data and computer media, such as EN1047 60D and EN1047 90D. That means you need to know what you are fireproofing before making your choice.

Deposit

Do you need a deposit facility for your safe? This is where your staff will be able to access the safe to put things in only. In some businesses, for example shops, pubs and other cash handling environments, this can be very useful. It allows the staff to remove money from the customer facing area and put it in a safe place, without having access to any other money or valuables.

Deposit safes can work via a drawer or mechanism, or simply by posting things in through a slot. Adding a deposit system reduces the security of a safe, and therefore your insurance company may decide to downgrade the cash rating of your safe. However, if you want to protect your income without giving staff keys to your safe, it can be a worthwhile option.

Locking

What sort of lock would suit you? There are a huge variety to choose from, so it’s important to think about what will suit your needs and business the best.

  • Key locking: The most basic, standard locking method, it’s also the cheapest and one of the most reliable. However, there is the disadvantage of having to carry around a bulky safe key, and the potential for your key to be lost or stolen, therefore compromising the security of your safe.
  • Electronic pin code: Electronic locks are much more convenient than keys, and when bought from a reputable supplier, is usually a very reliable method of securing your safe. Cheap electronic pin locks can be easy to break, so invest in a good one. The more features and more complex the lock, the more expensive it will be. The main downside of this type of lock is that you could possibly forget your code, making it difficult to access your stored items.
  • Electronic biometric locks: Biometric locks use things that are unique to you to secure your safe, such as your fingerprint, iris or veins in your palm. Most commonly they use your fingerprint, which means there is no key to lose and no code to forget. If you can afford it, this is usually the most reliable and convenient lock type.
  • Security linked locks: With an electric locking system, it is possible to connect the safe to your business security system and alarm, so that any fraudulent access creates an alert. You can also integrate them with your IT systems, giving you an audit trail of who has had access at certain times, and preventing internal fraud. They can also be programmed to only allow certain users access at particular times, single use codes can be obtained and complete lockdown can be remotely activated. Some safes even have a silent alarm function, where you can enter a different code if you are being forced to open the safe, alerting the police to a potential problem.

As well as these considerations, you’ll need to think about where the safe will live and what you’re going to store inside. This will help you decide on the configuration, size and style that will suit. Many of our safes are offered with delivery and bolt down services, helping you to install them successfully and effectively from the start.

Types of safe

Choosing the right type of safe for your needs will depend on the space you have available, as well as the specifications of what you want to put in it. The main types of safe are:

  • Free standing: These stand on the floor and are bolted to the floor or the wall.
  • Cupboard safe: These are like a freestanding safe, but generally slightly smaller. Usually they are kept in cupboards or under stairs, and are bolted either to the floor or the wall.
  • Floor safe: The under-floor safe is concreted into a hole in the ground. They are hidden, therefore more secure, as it is only the door which can be tampered with. However, fitting them can be expensive and using them can be inconvenient.
  • Wall safes: These are also hidden safes, located in a wall. They rely on the wall in which they are fitted for a lot of their security, so it’s important to ensure the wall is thick enough and strong enough to make them secure.

Bolting down your safe is a must, as without this you leave any burglar free to take the safe away and attempt to crack it in their own time. If it’s securely bolted down, it would need to be cracked on the premises, which means their time is limited.

If you rent your premises rather than own it, do be aware that you may need permission from your landlord before fixing anything to the fabric of the building. Similarly, if there is a chance you will move premises in the future, do think about how you will move your safe, particularly if you’re looking at a very heavy model.

Specialist safes

Sometimes you need something more specialised than just a regular safe. If you keep some types of items on your premises, you need to make sure you can adequately protect them and stop others gaining access. Here’s what you need to know about some of the specialist safes you might require in these circumstances.

Drugs

If you work in a veterinary practice, doctors, dentists, pharmacy, care home or anywhere else where you need to keep controlled drugs on the premises, you’ll need a specialised safe to appropriately store those drugs. Any solution needs to be in line with the Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations 1973, which sets out how your safe should be constructed, locked and mounted.

The drugs cabinets we sell at Equip4Work all meet the requirements of these regulations, and some far exceed the basic requirements, making them ideal for places which have a higher security risk. For example, our Burton Controlled Drugs Cabinet not only surpasses the Misuse of Drugs Regulations, but also meets the more stringent standards being promoted by the Home Office Drugs Inspectorate.

If you have controlled drugs on site, you must take responsibility for ensuring they are kept under lock and key. More information on this is available from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Guns

Not many businesses will require a gun safe, but if you do have firearms on your premises, for whatever reason, you are required by law to keep it locked up. Even air guns need to be kept safe, under legislation that came into force on 10th February 2010. If you have something more powerful in your possession, you should have a firearm certificate for it, and should be taking all appropriate measures to keep it inaccessible to those who do not hold a certificate.

A gun safe or cabinet should be firmly secured so that it can’t be removed, either by bolting it to a wall or to joists in the floor. The best location for it is in a corner, with two sides against walls, making it even more difficult for a potential thief to try and force it off.

You must not keep the keys with the safe, so try and think of a suitable hiding place that only you know about. Telling other people, workers, friends or family members where the keys are is not taking reasonable precautions to control access.

One of the best ways to hide your keys is to use a small combination safe or lock box which is kept away from the gun cabinet. Remember, it is your responsibility as the certificate holder to prevent other people from gaining access to your guns. For more advice check out this handbook on firearms security from the Home Office here.

Our gun cabinets hold from three up to 10 individual guns, and are compliant with BS7558 standards. The three-way locking bolts offer superior protection compared with many other UK cabinets, and they can be either base or back mounted, or both.

Laptops

Storing laptops is best done under lock and key, so if you’re planning to leave laptops in your business overnight, or want to keep laptops containing sensitive information out of harm’s way, a laptop safe is ideal.

Our Sentry laptop safe is big enough for most sizes of laptop plus its charger, and feature a high security electronic lock. The interior is carpeted to prevent your device from being scratched, and the unit can be bolted to either the floor or a wall as you wish.

For keeping laptops safe when out and about, choosing a laptop security briefcase will ensure your device is never accessed by the wrong person. Locked by a pair of combination locks, it comes with a high security cable and lock so you can lock it to your car, wrist or other object if you need to leave it anywhere while you are away from the office.

Cash outside the office

If you handle cash outside the office, for example when you’re at an event or trade show, our vehicle safes are a great choice. Available in a range of sizes, the safe box locks into a base plate which you can bolt into a vehicle or to any secure surface. It features a deposit trap, so bundles of notes and bags of coins can easily be deposited without opening the safe, complete with a baffle plate to stop anyone trying to fish money out.

Data

If you have important or valuable information stored on discs, drives or other data storage devices, keeping them safe and protected is essential. Our data safes have high security electronic locks and multipurpose drawers and shelves to help you keep your data organised and safe.

Not only do they stop data devices from being stolen or copied, they also provide fire protection for between 60 to 120 minutes at temperatures as high as 1010 degrees C. The case protects the goods inside from magnetic fields and electrostatic waves, which could otherwise wipe or corrupt your data.

Controlling keys and access

Controlling who enters and leaves your building, and when, is essential if you want to maintain your businesses security and safety. Even within the building itself, there may be areas where you don’t want just anyone wandering in and out. There are numerous solutions out there for door access control, from the high tech to the plain and simple, and what’s right for you will depend on your unique needs.

Choosing a door access control system

Whether you’re moving into a new building or simply revamping the security on your existing premises, thinking hard about what sort of system will work for you is paramount. The first thing to realise is that changing the locks and access protocol is a great idea.

Maybe you have workers who have left, and not returned their key. Or maybe the company who were in the building before you arrived still have copies. Even if you’re confident that your security is not compromised yet, giving it an overhaul every few years is a good way to stay safe and protected.

Considerations

Before we start looking at options, consider these important questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your door access system?

Usually the main purpose is to keep people out of areas which they are not supposed to enter. This may include doors to car parks, the main entry doors, doors to personnel files or otherwise. Do you need to track who has used the door, and when? Or do you simply need a basic system that will keep your premises safe when you are not there?

  1. How secure does it need to be?

If you’re running a simple business with few valuables left on site, you probably aren’t going to want to invest thousands in the latest all singing, all dancing Fort Knox style access control system. Similarly, if you run a retail premises with a lot of stock and possibly cash left at work overnight, a basic keypad or swipe card might not be enough. The aim of the game is to buy only what you need, without going overboard and paying for features you could have lived without.

  1. How big will the access system be?

Think about the number of doors you need to secure, and the role each one plays in the security of the building. Will some doors be used by customers, and some only by employees? What are those doors made of, and are any designated as fire doors? The answers to these questions will have an impact on the type of security you can use, and the choices you’re going to make.

You should also consider whether you need controlled access in both directions or in just one. In a controlled exit system, your employee will need to enter their code or swipe their card to get out, as well as in. In a free exit system, either the door senses someone approaching and unlocks for them to leave, or there is a door release button they need to push. By law, your access control system needs to allow people to exit the building if the power goes out or if there is a fault with the system, so consider this when planning your design.

Planning your access control system

There are a whole bunch of options available which you can consider when redoing your door access system for your business. It can begin to feel rather complicated, but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll find it’s actually not too bad. The elements you need to plan for are:

  • A method of getting in through the door
  • A plan for getting out through the door
  • A decision on the type of lock to be used
  • A plan for how the system is controlled (e.g. for users not authorised to enter that door)
  • What functionality that access point needs

By applying each of these elements to every access point or door you wish to secure in the business, you can start to come up with a plan for what you need.

Types of door locks

There are a number of types of door locks available to use, which broadly fall into the following categories:

  • Standalone locks: These are locks which only work on that door, and can feature a keypad lock, proximity card or a good old-fashioned key. If they are electronic, they are powered by battery, therefore are not susceptible to power cuts. They can be installed and ready to use in minutes, and some even feature a reader function, which can download the audit trail from the lock. However, they are not connected to any security system and are not part of your wider security network.
  • Key switches: These look like standard key operated locks, but actually are connected to your network to assist with electronic auditing.
  • Keypad locks: These are very cost effective and are often used in single door entry systems. They use simple codes of between three and 10 numbers, which are manually punched in, much like opening a safe. The downside of these is that users often write the code down, or lend it to other people, making it less secure.
  • Card readers: Easy to use but an expensive system to install, these offer card based entry for all your users. Some use barcodes, others magnetic strips, and some are proximity activated, opening a door when the card is sensed to be within a few feet of it. A lost card is no problem, because it’s a simple matter of a few taps on the PC to deactivate it and reprogramme a new card for that user.
  • Biometric systems: The Ferrari of the door access control world, biometric systems rely on physical characteristics of the user to allow them to gain entry. This could be fingerprints, retina scans, handprints and more. They are by far the most secure option, but are very costly to install and can feel a little intrusive to users who are not accustomed to this type of system.

The type of lock system you need will depend greatly on the level of security your business requires. Our digital door locks have proven to be highly useful in a variety of situations, and are a great, low cost, easy to install choice for businesses not concerned with having a centrally controlled access system.

The digital door locks we sell are often used in public buildings like hospitals, offices and schools. Their low cost and ease of installation means they can quickly be applied to a door which needs to be secured, and will provide instant protection for that room or area of the building.

The benefit of digital locks like these is that they are highly straightforward in terms of their operation. There is very little that can go wrong, and your security won’t be compromised in the case of a power cut or computer virus entering your network. They can be programmed to allow free access at certain times of the day, for instance to allow the cleaners to reach every room, and then to restrict access at other times.

Digital door locks can be installed on all types of doors, including timber and multi point locking UPVC doors too. They are safe for use on external doors, and can be reprogrammed with new codes quickly and easily. They eliminate the need for a key, so that the risk of a key being lost or copied is removed.

Taking care of your keys

Even if you do go over to keyless entry for your building, there are inevitably a tonne of keys that are needed to run your business. From keys to the server cabinet to keys for windows, keys to your safe deposit box and keys for the company vehicle… the list goes on, and on.

When you’ve got so many keys to take care of, having them hanging around in your desk drawer is not a good idea. It only takes for an unscrupulous person to steal or copy a key, and those things you thought were locked up and protected are no longer safe.

Add to this the fact you’re going to need to give some of your trusted staff access to various keys, and might not always be in the office to unlock your desk drawer, it’s far better to come up with a proper key storage solution that will keep everything safe. This is where our key control safes and boxes will be highly useful for you.

Single key cabinets

Our key cabinets are highly secure, lockable units that let you organise and store your keys in a practical and efficient manner. You can choose the cabinet that best suits your needs, whether it’s a compact 20 key secure cabinet or a massive 600 key vault. Each comes with colour coded and numbered key hangers, so you can organise your keys, and a pad of sign in and out sheets to keep track of who’s borrowed which key.

Deep key cabinets

If you need to store bunches of keys rather than individual keys, our deep key cabinets are perfect for the job. These are deeper than a standard key box, allowing for storage of chunky key bunches and keyrings too. We even sell a floor mounted key organiser which, in its largest size, can hold more than 2,000 keys!

Portable key cabinets

For your security guards or mobile security patrols, a mobile key safe is a great solution for keeping things secure and organised. These steel cabinets have space for between 20 and 63 keys, with a flush closing rim to resist forced entry.

Locking key boxes

If you want to leave a key in a secure location, accessible to only the people you choose, a simple keyguard box will fit the bill. Mounted on any interior or exterior wall, this is a small push button safe, into which you can programme any code you choose. Keep a spare key to the front door outside, just in case, or provide a key to a restricted access room for your senior or trusted staff members.

These are also really popular with our domestic clients, as they provide a way to allow emergency services or care agencies to access the homes of the elderly, even if the resident is unable to let them in.

Emergency key storage

If getting access to a certain area in the event of an emergency is a priority, invest in an emergency key box for your business. These little red boxes are very much like the break glass fire alarm systems, where a small hammer is used to smash the glass in order to access the key inside. This can be a great way to provide access to areas that are usually out of bounds if for any reason there is an emergency need to get in there.

Storing hazardous materials

Understanding the correct way to store and protect any hazardous substances in your business is critically important. Failure to comply with regulations could see you fined or imprisoned, and puts the welfare of your staff and customers at risk.

What are hazardous substances?

Hazardous substances are classified in legislation as being anything which is toxic, corrosive, irritant or harmful. They can be present in the form of liquids, gasses, solids, mists and fumes. They could be something as simple as chemicals used in cleaning, or something more unusual like flammable gas or biological agents.

In essence, if the substance could cause harm to either people or the environment if it leaked, broke, got hot or otherwise was uncontrolled, it’s almost certainly a hazardous substance.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)

All these types of substances are controlled under the UK legislation called Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). This law requires that all employers control substances which could be hazardous to health, by preventing or reducing workers exposure to these substances. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends taking the following steps to maintain control of such substances in your workplace:

  • Identifying what are hazardous substances
  • Performing a risk assessment to help decide how to deal with them
  • Putting measures in place to reduce the likelihood of harm
  • Ensuring this process is working and effective
  • Giving information and training to employees and anyone else who may need it
  • Providing health monitoring if necessary
  • Formulating an emergency plan

There is lots more information on what your obligations are under COSHH, and what you need to be doing about it, here at the HSE website.

Storing hazardous substances

You should always assess the risks of storing and handling these hazardous substances before making a decision on how to store them. If at all possible, keeping these types of substances on your premises should be avoided. However, it is understandable that perhaps small quantities need to be stored in your place of work, in which case a purpose-built cabinet should be purchased in order to safely store them.

Hazardous material storage is usually colour coded to make it quicker and easier to identify what’s inside. For instance:

  • Red: Highly flammable
  • Yellow: Flammable
  • Grey: Chemical
  • White: Acid or alkali
  • Green: Agrochemical and pesticide

You can store pretty much anything in a mid-grey or plain stainless-steel cabinet, as this is simply a COSHH cabinet which should be labelled up to give further information

What to look for in a hazardous material storage unit

All hazardous storage cupboards need to be purpose designed for the use for which they were intended. For example:

  • The material they are made of needs to be non-reactive, and should provide at least 30 minutes of fire resistance
  • Doors, lids, hinges and joints should be close fitting and free from slits or gaps
  • The doors and lids should have a slight overlap when they are closed to prevent gasses escaping
  • The material they are made from should have a melting point of no less than 750 degrees C
  • Colour coding and hazard labels should be used to indicate what is inside

These are the minimum requirements for hazardous substance storage, but do not absolve the business owner of their responsibility to provide a secure and robust storage place for these materials. More information on storage cabinet specifications can be found at the HSE website.

Choosing business surveillance

Modern businesses all need some form of surveillance in order to protect their property from theft, vandalism, and increasingly to protect their staff from assault. In fact, British businesses reported over 30,000 incidents of physical crime in 2015, and those numbers look to be on the rise.

Choosing the right security solutions for your business is crucial in the fight against crime. And it’s not just the big boys either. Many small, family run enterprises are seen as soft targets, so it’s equally important to protect your premises, no matter what the size of the company.

Considerations

When starting to narrow down your choices, the main considerations you’ll need to make are:

  • What do you need to protect? If your premises are one of your main assets, invest in rolling shutters and high security access points to protect the building. If your assets are all in IT or data, protecting these systems will be a priority. If you handle cash, you’re going to need an alarm for your safe, and maybe CCTV to monitor it.
  • Who can help? When it comes to high tech security solutions, there is only so much you can do yourself. We’ll look in more detail at what you can manage on your own shortly, but if you are going for advanced alarm and CCTY monitoring systems, you’re going to need professional assistance.
  • What will work for your business? Will you need remote access to the images and data, or is it enough of a deterrent just to have cameras? Do you even need cameras, or will mirrors and an alarm be enough?

Thinking about what you’re aiming to achieve and how complex your system needs to be is the first step in choosing what you need. You don’t have to opt for big and expensive solutions to achieve a good level of security; it’s all about balancing effectiveness and value for money.

CCTV

Buying security cameras and alarm systems for your business is often a major investment. With hundreds of options for choose from, it’s a very bespoke choice that only you and a CCTV expert will be able to make. Here are some top tips to help you narrow down your selection.

  • Decide if you want to self-setup: If you do, then you’ll need quite a simple system that you can work with out of the box. If it’s too complex, you’ll need to employ a security consultant to design and install your system, which will rapidly push up the cost.
  • Think about how you want to access the images: If you spend time away from your business but want the peace of mind of being able to check up on things, you’ll need an internet connected solution that allows you to log in remotely. If you’re happy to simply record and playback from a DVR, you can settle for a lower cost, non-internet connected system.
  • Choose a good storage solution: Whether or not you’re accessing your feed online, you’ll need to store images so that you can review them in case of an incident. The best storage solutions are automatic, and either store on a device at your premises or on a storage cloud. Choose storage that is capable of saving a substantial amount of footage, in case of an overnight incident.
  • Get the highest quality your budget allows: The more you pay, the better the images. If you’re not too bothered about recording audio, you could save money by going for a simple yet high quality video only system. Colour trumps black and white, but if you’re unable to afford a sharp picture on a colour system, a clear black and white image is better than a blurry coloured one.

If course, not every business will require a CCTV system, so don’t feel pressured into buying one if you can’t see the advantage.

Dummy CCTV

Dummy or ‘fake’ CCTV cameras can be well worth looking at, either as an addition to your existing CCTV setup or as a simple deterrent for a business not wanting to invest in a full CCTV system. High quality dummy CCTV cameras will set you back around £40 - £60 a unit, a snip at a fraction of the cost of a real camera. Do pick the best available, because the cheaper models are easily spotted as a fake.

Our dummy CCTV cameras are suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, and use exactly the same housing as an active CCTV camera. They are fully weatherproof, and even come with a flashing LED, a realistic lens and wire running into the bracket. They are very hard to differentiate from a real CCTV camera, and could offer you additional security for a price you can really afford.

Dummy systems will save you hundreds of pounds in comparison to a real CCTV system, not just because the purchase price is so much lower, but also because they come with none of the maintenance and ongoing cost of an active CCTV solution.

Many businesses successfully combine dummy cameras with real ones, using live feeds for the highest risk areas and dummies as additional deterrents in lower risk areas. If you do plan to do this, it’s a good idea not to place the dummy too close to the real camera, as it will make small differences more obvious.

Mirrors

Security and convex mirrors are a simple, low cost yet highly effective method of protecting your business from both crime and accidents. There are lots of options when it comes to mirrors, so think carefully about what your business needs before making a choice.

Mirrors come in a range of materials to suit different applications, such as:

  • Glass: Glass mirrors offer a clean, crisp, undistorted view, but are also the highest risk when it comes to shattering. Glass shards are extremely dangerous, but if you are confident your mirror will not be at risk or breakage, this can be a good choice for a very clear view.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic mirrors are tougher than glass and still offer a quality view. These mirrors can be bent to offer a wide-angle view, making them good for seeing around corners or viewing large areas from one location. They still shatter like glass if affected by a large impact, but the shards are not as sharp or dangerous. They do scratch more easily than glass.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel are the very best that money can buy, as they are durable and tough. They don’t easily scratch, will not shatter and the highly polished surface will ensure a clear view at all times. They are suitable for use inside and out, and are resistant to vandals as well as the elements.

As well as considering the material your mirror is made from, you should think about the backing it has applied, as this will affect its suitability for use.

  • No backing: With no backing, you could save some money, but will only be able to use your mirror indoors and for simple uses.
  • Hardboard: A hardboard backing provides some protection for the lens, but is not weather resistant, so is only for use indoors.
  • Coated treated hardboard or plywood: If the wood backing has been treated or is coated with vinyl, it is suitable for use indoors and outdoors.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel backing is the best choice for external applications, particularly where there is a risk of inclement weather or vandalism.

Now you’ve got a better idea of the materials you are looking for, you can start thinking about the type of mirror you’ll need for the job you have in mind. Think about where you want to use mirrors in your business, and choose the right one for the application.

  • Convex mirrors: Convex mirrors are an excellent investment for security both indoors and outdoors. In retail shops and similar businesses, it enables the cashier to see activity all over the shop from one vantage point. In alleys, subways and corridors they can help prevent collisions and surprise attacks, and outside can make it safer to turn onto a main road from an awkward bend.
  • Dome mirrors: Dome mirrors come in 90, 180 and 360-degree versions. They offer a simple yet effective method of seeing more of the premises, and are widely used in shops, warehouses, factories and more. They have been proven to prevent theft and can help avoid accidents in congested areas of high pedestrian traffic.
  • Traffic mirrors: Convex traffic mirrors are a practical and inexpensive way of improving safety on your site in the car park and loading areas. They take away blind spots, helping to prevent accidents and injuries where you have lots of vehicular and pedestrian movement. Some also come with ice resistant thermoactivated gel backing, so they don’t freeze up in the winter.
  • Rear view mirrors: Using a convex mirror as a rear view mirror for site work such as in forklift trucks is a great choice. It enables the operator to safely see what’s behind them without having to turn, meaning they can safely manoeuvre their vehicle without taking their attention away from their load.
  • Inspection mirrors: Inspection mirrors are small convex mirrors, often mounted on telescopic poles, that allow you to see into awkward places. They are extensively used in security, for checking underneath vehicles as they enter a secure area.
  • Food grade mirrors: Food grade mirrors can be extremely useful in food processing areas, where you need to see inside vats, hoppers and mixers and wish to avoid climbing ladders or other risky activities. These mirrors conform to food industry standards and can be hygienically cleaned.

Mirrors offer affordable, effective solutions to safety and security in your business, so don’t overlook these low-cost options when you’re planning how to keep your business protected.

Keeping people safe

Whilst you are busy thinking about keeping your premises and assets safe and secure, it’s worth spending some time ensuring your most valuable asset of all is protected: Your people. Keeping your employees, customers and visitors’ safe is essential if you want to maintain a good reputation as a caring employer, and it’s your responsibility under UK law to ensure good health and safety standards are upheld.

This means you need to do everything you can to ensure everyone who enters your premises is protected from anything that might cause them harm. This can be done through risk management, and through understanding what hazards are present in your environment. You can find more information about your responsibilities at work on the HSE website.

Sometimes it’s not possible to eliminate all risks from the workplace, in which case it is crucial that you do what you can to manage those risks effectively. This can sometimes mean separating people from hazards in the area, which is achieved via the use of:

  • Barriers: From inexpensive red and white tape to more permanent solutions, using effective barriers in the workplace is one of the quickest and easiest ways of keeping people away from a source of danger. It may be a hole that has formed in a walkway, a pipe that is being worked on, or a spillage of some sort that is causing a risk. Whatever it is, having a solution to quickly and effectively isolate this area from the people in your business is crucial to avoiding accident and injury.
  • Line marking: For a more permanent solution to separating and informing staff and visitors of hazards in your business, line marking can be a good choice. Choose from inexpensive tape that can be applied around machinery or to separate areas, to permanent line painting systems that demarcate parking areas, risk areas or other situations.
  • Cones: A great way of highlighting an immediate risk or alerting people to potential dangers is the use of cones. Traffic cones and no waiting cones are crucial if you’re expecting a delivery and want to ensure a parking spot for the truck, whereas wet floor and cleaning in progress markers are an essential part of your cleaner’s kit.

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that keeping people safe on your premises is your responsibility, so an investment in these types of solutions is not only worthwhile, it’s a legal requirement.

Further information

Here at Equip4Work, we are proud to bring you a huge range of tools and equipment for all your safety and security needs. We work hard to keep our quality high and our prices low, and hope you can find just what you need on the pages of our website.

However, if you feel you would benefit from some tailored advice on making the right purchases, our sales team will be happy to help. Just call us on 08444 999 222 or drop us an email at sales@equip4work.com and our friendly team will be pleased to assist you.