More than simple security

September 2012 Integrated Solutions, Industrial (Industry)

What role does security play in the industrial sector?

Hi-Tech Security Solutions chatted to four industry players about the importance of security systems within the industrial and manufacturing sector. Issues under discussion included whether the current economic downturn had accelerated the use of security systems and what role these systems play in occupational health and safety (OHS) compliance.

According to Richard Creighton, HBS business leader: Africa for Honeywell, many of the needs of the industrial sector are similar to those of the commercial and retail sectors. “However, we find that because theft risks may be less pronounced within this sector, the uptake on technology has been somewhat slower than in the commercial or retail fields. Nevertheless, industry is now seeing the benefits from both a security perspective as well as in using traditional security systems as business tools.”

Creighton pointed out that part of the push for enhanced security in the industry could be attributed to the economic downturn. “Unfortunately, during recessionary times, people who are under severe financial pressure sometimes succumb to theft. In addition, there have been instances of disgruntled or retrenched workers entering premises for unlawful reasons. Surveillance and access control measures will reduce or prevent such crimes and counter losses.”

Technology adoption

“Securing sites in the industrial sector has always been a challenge, mainly due to the vastness of the areas needing to be covered and the harsh conditions which are not always conducive to using CCTV. With the reduction in price on thermal cameras and the advancement in other technologies it has become more affordable for the industrial sector to protect large perimeters and install cameras in harsh environments,” said Gordon Moore, product manager CCTV/Access for ADI Global.

He added that, while there is definitely an uptake on wireless and IP technology, the limiting factors to date have been available bandwidth. However, these are perfect solutions in a market sector where sites are often extensive, with large perimeters.

“Wireless technology is gaining popularity in the process control arena, as the argument against the reliability of wired solutions in process-critical areas is debated,” said Creighton.

Ingo Mutinelli, national sales manager for Elvey, agreed. “Wireless and IP technology is ideal for larger sites and extremely affordable. It is important however, to ensure that the software backbone, such as a building management system, is high-tech, to ensure full functionality.”

Gus Brecher, MD of Cathexis Africa, concedes that in some of the much larger installations, wireless is the route to go. “However, I remain a proponent of wired solutions wherever possible for the sake of reliability. I believe however, that IP is definitely a boon for the industrial sector. The price/performance ratio has come down substantially and it allows for future upgradeability and expansion of systems.”

“Verification will continue to grow as a business need and visitor management is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Video analytics within the industrial sector allow management to plot trends in productivity and processes, thereby increasing competitiveness and market share,” said Moore.

Remote monitoring

Remote offsite monitoring (ROM) is increasingly coming under the spotlight. “It is critical that if one decides to follow this route, that the service provider is credible and does not cut corners. Talking to a service provider’s current client base will help to ascertain the level of quality provided,” said Mutinelli.

Creighton added: “Any ROM provider needs to have a strong understanding of the security and surveillance environment specific to the client’s needs. However, we often find that in the larger, high-end industrial and mining installations, it is important for the management to retain the monitoring function in-house.”

“ROM is definitely becoming more popular but it is essential that, especially with very large installations, one sets up a multi-tiered approach to monitoring. The first level could include events-driven specification and monitoring using the ‘black-screen’ approach that sees monitors activating only when a camera detects a predetermined event. The second tier could be monitoring of high-risk areas. The third tier is forensic analysis. A hybrid approach can also be adopted which entails selection of a mixture of any of these approaches,” said Brecher.

Safe my mate

“Behavioural management has come to the fore and allows companies to monitor procedural infringements and address them quickly. By extrapolating the data acquired by the systems, companies are able to institute behavioural modification and engender safe and productive work practices,” said Moore.

According to Mutinelli the current biometric access product sets available on the market are ideal for incorporating zoning. “This is an important consideration with respect to occupational and health legislation. Management is able to allow only qualified people into specific areas where risk is construed.

“In addition, biometric access control systems can include integrated features that would allow for fire drills to be effectively managed in the workplace. It could notify the closure of specific doorways, whilst automatically opening others to ensure the clear passage of employees through predefined exit points. In addition, the systems could include people counters, which identify if an employee is missing.”

Creighton said that biometric access control is ideal for any occupational health and safety (OHS) plant-specific requirements. “Typical examples of its applicability are its use as a tool in ensuring that all stipulated medical certification requirements are in place for each employee. By performing a first line check on certification, the system will flag any offenders and prohibit their entry into the premises.

“By using a security system as part of a workflow package, one could programme the system to tie specific qualification requirements into certain machines and only allow those employees with these requirements to operate the machine. The biometric access control system also provides workplace assurance in terms of ensuring that all employees have undergone company-specific induction training.”

Brecher said: “Security is only one aspect of the use for CCTV. Some sites currently utilise it for production, process control, OHS legislation and regulation adherence and other solutions. Security in these cases only makes up 50% of the usage of the system. The potential for the use of CCTV outside of the security area is even greater in the industrial, mining and manufacturing sectors.”

“You need to carefully determine what you are allowed to do in terms of surveillance before you are viewed as being intrusive,” said Mutinelli. “The determination of procedures is outlined in the Labour Law as well as in the Privacy Act and companies need to conform to this legislation.”

Mutinelli believes in a multi-tiered approach to industrial risk alleviation. “Typically, this would begin with determining what system processes are in place as well as what physical management checks are in place, such as guards checking people in and out of the company’s premises. You then need to ascertain how you can fit these elements into the technology available such as CCTV surveillance, access control and asset tracking.”

“I believe that it is important to have the right processes in place as a first-line defence against theft. By ensuring buy-in from employees and keeping lines of communication open, one is able to minimise the negative impact of recessionary measures. Technology should be the second line of defence,” said Brecher.

He proposed a number of checklist items to ensure that industrial clients are getting the most ‘bang for their buck’. “Systems should be: reliable, have longevity, be backward-compatible, be integrate-able to other systems, and be effectively supported and maintained.”


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