Access control - choosing the correct system

April 2003 Access Control & Identity Management

To properly protect people and assets it is vital that companies answer crucial questions before selecting an access control and/or safety solution.

You must understand exactly what your organisation's unique needs are in terms of safety and access and you must decide what information you need and the degree of control you wish the system to provide.

Answers to these questions will also provide an indication of the degree of integration you will require from your system. Perhaps your needs can be met via a straightforward standalone access control system or you may require more complex integration of two or more systems. This is an important consideration since integration can provide many benefits but is expensive.

The following points are not exhaustive but provide an indication of the questions you should ask and the type of information you may wish your system to provide:

* Who is on site?

* Where are my people?

* Have they been inducted on site?

* Where are my visitors - are they where they should be?

* How do I know where people are in an emergency?

* In an emergency how can I know who has and who has not reported at the emergency mustering stations?

* How do I control access in my facility - both to general and restricted areas?

* Can I obtain information on times of access?

* How do I control vehicle access particularly where intrinsic safety is required?

* How do I better manage time and attendance and automatically update my payroll?

* How do I ensure only my trained people are using machinery?

* How do I link safety induction training and other skill qualifications to control access to certain site locations?

* How do I record and issue photo identification passes?

* Is it safe to blast now (who is in the mine)?

* Do I have enough supervisors on duty?

* How do I monitor the health levels (such as lead levels) of my people to ensure they are safe?

* How do I ensure important data is captured and readily available?

It is important that once you have answered such questions you make sure you select a system that provides you with real answers to these questions.

A properly integrated system can include any or all of access control, close circuit television, security alarm monitoring, fire safety, asset tracking, building management and emergency response, and more to help you streamline operations and reduce risk to people and plant.

Should you need to go the integrated route it is also important that should you select a solution that can interface to human resources modules in ERP systems - for example SAP, Peoplesoft and MINCOM. This will ensure that your information is always current and you will not end up with duplicated data - in other words you will have a truly seamless integrated solution.

For more information contact Frank Fowles, Honeywell SA, 011 695 8000.

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