How to keep your reception staff safe

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Security is a hot topic now, with terrorism threats at a high and crime techniques becoming more sophisticated and advanced. Reception staff are vital in the role of safeguarding businesses, employees and clients from threats and crimes.

Although incidents are uncommon, being prepared helps minimise threat and ensures staff members are confident, particularly when working alone.

What kind of threats should be considered?

There are four main types of threat that should be considered: emergency incidents, such as fire or bomb threats or terrorism; violence, such as assault; information destruction or theft and opportunist crimes like trespassing; and theft of property from within the building.

How to deal with threats

The best way to stop crime is to put deterrents in place to prevent it in the first place. This could include security alarms, CCTV, and locking or hiding away property and keys that could potentially be seen and/or stolen. Former burglars have stated that CCTV is one of the best deterrents.

CCTV can also be used to assist investigations if a crime does take place, so it’s worth the investment. Ensure staff are trained to use it and remain vigilant. Anything suspicious should always be reported. Property is not the only thing that should be locked away; sensitive or restricted information should be kept securely on computers that require individual logins, or in drawers or cabinets that can be locked securely. Similarly, the information should also be disposed of correctly.

Staff should always be trained efficiently in all emergency and safety policies and have access to this information. Safety plans should be discussed thoroughly and revised frequently. Evacuation plans and points should be clearly documented and sign posted, as should all fire extinguishers, exits, and first aid points.

Access to buildings should be monitored and controlled. A visitor management system is vital to ensure that all access can be tracked via signing in and signing out. For extra safety, this can be done electronically via a digital system such as the one found at https://www.ofec.co.uk/web-and-software-development-services/digital-visitors-and-staff-signing-in-book.aspx.

Software like this can also print guest passes and serve as a portable, more efficient digital version of a paper-based visitors’ book.

As with standard fire procedures, safety systems and procedures and panic alarms should be tested regularly, and all staff should be confident about what to do in an emergency.

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