On-Site Magazine

Editorial: Take care of your tools, big and small

By Corinne Lynds   

Construction Construction Materials Equipment Corinne Lynds editorial security theft

t’s difficult to put an exact number on the total cost of theft to construction companies in Canada, but according to a report from Zurich Canada, it’s safe to say the amount exceeds $46 million per year in insurance claims alone. This number doesn’t account for lost productivity.

There’s no doubt that tools are valuable. Whether they’re pocket-sized, or of the 100-ton variety, jobsites are reliant upon equipment to complete projects on time and on budget. With this in mind, training your workers to take care of their tools, will save money, and reduce lost productivity.

Fastfence.ca offers these 10 reminders to prevent theft on the jobsite:

LIGHT IT UP – A well-lit job site makes it difficult for thieves to get into the site and leave unseen.


SECURE YOUR PERIMETER – Temporary fencing is an inexpensive way to deter thieves by making it difficult for them to access your site.

IMMOBILIZE LARGE EQUIPMENT – Prevent the theft of large equipment such as excavators and forklifts by installing immobilization or battery disconnect devices. Use locking devices such as boots, or surround equipment overnight with stacked materials. Have a system in place to manage equipment keys and keep them in a secure location.

KNOW WHO’S WHO – Do detailed background checks on new hires and keep the use of subcontractors to a minimum. Make sure all workers and visitors sign in and out.

SET THE TONE – Make sure everyone who enters the site knows that theft of any kind will be reported to the police. Give your employees the opportunity to anonymously report any worksite thefts by providing them with a ‘hotline’ number or the contact details for Crimestoppers.

TRACK YOUR TOOLS – Whether you use a simple engraver, bar code tracking or a sophisticated microchip tracking system to manage tools on your smartphone, put a system in place and use it. A thorough tracking system helps prevent theft from occurring in the first place, but if a burglary still occurs, a detailed list of tools and equipment is essential if you have to complete a police report or make an insurance claim.

LOCK AWAY TOOLS AND MATERIALS – at the end of the work day, make sure all materials and tools are securely locked away in a storage container, locked job site trailer or locking tool box, and be sure to invest in good locks.

PLAN MATERIAL DELIVERIES – Arrange for materials to arrive only when needed (just-in-time delivery) because the longer materials are sitting around on your site, the more opportunity thieves have to steal them. If materials must be ordered in advance (to take advantage of sales pricing, for instance), make sure they are securely locked away or stored off-site.

GET NEIGHBOURS ON YOUR SIDE – If you are working near a residential area, get the site manager to introduce himself/herself to neighbours and give them his/her phone number. If they see anything suspicious such as a truck that rolls up alongside the site with its lights off, they can call you right away. At the end of the job, give them a small token of appreciation.

CONSIDER A SECURITY SERVICE – If you have a large site or an extensive inventory of valuable materials or equipment, a third-party security plan may be in order. This might include on-site, 24-hour security personnel, online tool and heavy equipment tracking, security alarms and video monitoring.

If a theft does occur, report it to the police immediately, as your theft may be part of a pattern. Whether you have property coverage, contractor’s equipment insurance or builder’s risk insurance, make sure you know what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t.

No job site is completely safe from determined thieves, but the more steps you take to prevent theft at your site, the more likely the thieves will set their sights elsewhere.

Corinne Lynds / Editor



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