Natural security means taking advantage of the facility’s natural or architectural features in order to minimize security problems. For example, are there unlit spots in your parking lot? Does having too many entrances mean it is difficult to control facility access?
Mechanical Security is the utilization of security systems such as locks, intrusion alarms, access control systems, and surveillance systems to reduce the need for continuous human surveillance. Here, technological advances are making it easier for employers to institute new security arrangements. Many mail rooms now use special scanners to check the safety of incoming mail. And for access security, biometric scanners that read thumb or palm prints or retina or vocal patterns make it easier to enforce plant security. However, critics say these also may undermine employee privacy, for instance by identifying where the employee is at any point.
Finally, organizational security means using good management to improve security. For example, it means properly training and motivating security staff and lobby attendants, ensuring that security staff has written orders that define their duties especially in situations such a fire elevator entrapment , hazardous materials spills, medical emergencies , hostile intrusions, hostage situations , bomb or terrorists attacks suspicious packages, civil disturbances and workplace violence . Other questions to ask include, Are you properly investigating the backgrounds of new hires? Are you requiring the same types of background checks for the contractors who supply security and other personnel to your facility? And do you provide new employees with security orientations?.
The possibility of emergencies prompted by fires, explosions, chemical releases power outages, and severe weather means that employers need facility plans. Such plan should contain several elements. These include early detection of a problem, methods for communicating the emergency externally, and communication plans for initiating an evacuation and for providing information to those the employer wants to evacuate. Regarding the latter, a simple alarm often does not suffice. Ideally, an initial alarm should come first. The employer should then follow the initial alarm with an announcements providing specific information about the emergency and letting employees know what action they should take next. Some use text messaging for this.
Company Security and Employee Privacy
Security programs like these accompanied by a significant rise in the monitoring of employee communications and workplace activities and this has prompted many to ask are employee privacy rights being violated.
As noted earlier in this article employers must consider employee privacy when using monitoring to control or investigate possible employee security breaches. For example, the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits someone from intercepting oral, wire, or electronic communication. However, this act does permit employees to consent the monitoring of business communications. Ideally, employers should get employees express consent for such monitoring for instance, when employees sign for receipt of the company policy forms during orientation. (The employer may also use monitoring of it is clear from its policies that employees should have known that such monitoring might take place?
However, getting express permission doesn’t give employers carte blanche to monitor employee communication. Several state courts have held that a monitoring phone conversation (even on company phones) invades employees’ privacy once it becomes apparent that the conversation is personal.
The employer can take several steps to make it easier to investigate employees for potential security breaches. These include:
1) Distribute a policy that (a) say the company reserves the right to inspect and search employees as well as their personal property , electronics media and files and (b) emphasizes that company provided conveniences such as lockers and desks remain the property of the company and are subject to its control and search.
2) Train investigators to focus on the facts and avoid making accusations.
3) Make sure your investigators know that employees can request that an employee representative be present during the interview.
4) Make sure all investigations and searches are even handed and nondiscriminatory