How to Build a World-Class Manned Protection Force

June 15, 2018
Organizations that thrive empower their security teams to be competitive, resilient and inspired

Creating a world-class security program for a company in the industrial sector starts with staffing a team of highly trained people to support the security mission. While security is of paramount concern, safety is an equally dominant driver in building a physical security team in the industrial/manufacturing sector. 

Why does safety sit alongside security as an equal partner? Unlike other areas, a safety incident can slow or possibly shut down production and significantly affect a company’s bottom line. Accidents cost money with a loss of trained workers, reduced production, increased insurance premiums and the potential of attracting negative media attention. In many cases, employees are considered among an organization’s greatest assets, and when they are impacted by injuries, it can have a negative effect. For example, if the production lines of a major manufacturer go down due to a critical injury to an employee, the line stops until the cause is identified and rectified.

Maintaining a safe work environment in a manufacturing plant or other industrial institution is vital for employees’ productivity and well-being, and the security team plays an integral role in cultivating a culture of safety and security. Companies should strive to avoid on-the-job injuries by putting in place proper safety measures, such as conducting regular job safety analysis checks. This will help to create a proactive method of keeping the safety of workers top of mind.  

Building a Culture of Safety & Security

Safety and security need to be managed in the same manner as budget, production, schedule, etc. Every employee and contractor needs to understand and be involved in the organization’s safety and security culture.  

It is vital that all managers and supervisors have intimate knowledge of the safety and security program and its elements. Security team leaders must convey that everyone will gain more in the long-term by avoiding accidents that increase costs and slow production.

Consider whether your company has the personnel and knowledge to handle emergencies. Are job safety analyses for every post and every shift being implemented? Does your organization have solid relationships with organizations such as OSHA and keep up to date with their requirements and regulations?

Inertia has no role in building and maintaining a safety and security culture. Most companies will have long periods of productivity without safety incidents, which can lead to inertia and the feeling that nothing “bad” will happen here. The security leaders should be well-versed about incidents where safety and security were compromised, whether inside or outside the organization so that these experiences can be shared and no one ever rests on their laurels.

Consider an outbreak of E. coli bacteria at a beef processing plant in Alberta, Canada, a few years ago that left more than 2,200 workers without jobs and hundreds of consumers sickened. Or the mesh manufacturer cited by OSHA for violations after a worker entered a large wire mesh manufacturing machine to retrieve a fallen metal bar and was struck and killed by a part that feeds the wire into the machine's welding area. One mistake can result in lost lives and jobs, halted production, fines and a sullied reputation.

The employees operating the equipment in your plant are familiar with the hazards and may have some good ideas on how to make improvements. Machinery may not be functioning properly or workstations need an ergonomic redesign. Building and maintaining a culture of safety and security requires that the communication channels remain open 24/7 and that everyone’s input is solicited, valued and acted upon.

Hiring Security Personnel

Does hiring security personnel for the industrial sector differ from other sectors?

“Hiring for the industrial market requires personnel that has more specific security background,” says Brent O’Bryan, Vice President, Training & Organizational Effectiveness, and Allied Universal. “Industrial security personnel require expertise in life safety and emergency management certifications including first aid and use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), chemical risk awareness, bloodborne pathogen training, situational awareness and terrorism.”

Depending on an organization’s security budget, leadership will either seek to onboard security professionals who have the prerequisite life safety certifications or will hire people without those qualifications (at a lower rate) and train them on the job. In the event that the company requires armed security professionals, specific training and certification are required along with annual requalification.

A major automobile manufacturer that recently on-boarded 1,500 new employees serves as an example of how out-sourcing security operations can align with time and cost efficiencies. This company’s security provider built a training program for these new employees in 60 days complete with an internal webpage featuring online training topics such as new employee orientation, introduction to safety, personal safety, emergency management, confined space awareness, fire safety and more.

When building a security force, the company will need to decide whether it will comprise in-house or out-sourced talent or combination of the two. The benefits of outsourcing security officers or operating a proprietary force vary dependent upon the nature and situation of your organization. Contract advantages include reduced administrative costs, ability to scale security resources quickly and easily, access to training and specific supplier benefits, economies of scale and “learned” best practices (i.e., recruiting, screening, training, management, post-orders, scheduling, payroll and operations).

An advantage of maintaining security operations within an organization is that contracted officers may be perceived as “outsiders” who face challenges of being accepted into the company culture. However, an outsider perception can be negated with team-building activities and employment tenure. 

Ongoing Monitoring Metrics

“Use of strong key performance metrics (KPM) and service level agreements (SLA) are paramount to the overall success of a security program,” says a security executive at a major aeronautical manufacturer. “KPMs are important for the ongoing evaluation of the agreed upon service delivery elements. The metric should include quantitative measures of responsiveness, completeness, and professionalism.”

The security program should be developed with key members of the manufacturing staff and security contractor who are familiar with the mission, goals and strategy of the company in relation to its overall security posture. The capability of the service provider to adapt program delivery and scale and support both short and long-term requirements is vital to a successful program.

Training Your Protection Force

“I look at specialized training in security as analogous to selecting your major in college,” says O’Bryan. “While all security officers benefit from ‘core’ classes, such as Basic Security Officer Training and Master Security Officer (MSO) training, they also need to select a ‘major’ in manufacturing or petrochemical, for example, where they will learn the specific nuances and requirements of their sector.”

Chemical/Petrochemical Security training demands that officers are educated in all aspects of Maritime security, OSHA, HazMat and general safety guidelines as well as comprehensive training in fire safety, emergency preparedness, patrol and search techniques, evacuation procedures and terrorism awareness—which prepare security officers to respond to emergencies with particular attention to the new threats that have arisen in today’s society.

The best security training begins with a solid foundation. Once that core is in place, it becomes the educational framework upon which specialized training, or the ‘major,’ can be built. Each market segment has its own examples that support the need for customized training.

“With critical security positions, it is best to deliver as much training as possible to them before allowing them to work a post on their own,” says O’Bryan. “The biggest rate of onboarding failures is when organizations allow new employees to staff posts on their own with little training which leaves the employee frustrated and eager to leave that organization.”

Providing security when worker safety is on the line is clearly different than security in other environments.  Security personnel without the appropriate sector certifications will require training in areas including fire safety officer (FS), emergency preparedness, evacuation procedures, customer service, OSHA and HazMat, terrorism awareness and patrol techniques.

Continuous Operations

Any organization should review the processes and procedures in place for sharing pertinent knowledge and information.  Is there an extranet or other technology to stay on top of risk management issues? A method needs to exist to precisely measure whether or not the security team is able to enhance its brand, provide a peace of mind, help lower costs and assist in efficient reporting means.

Also, consider if the security team uses wireless technology to support ever-changing business needs with a platform that promotes sustainability and reduces paper waste. Make sure to review the procedures in place for trending reports and customized incident reports and ensure they are turned around in a timely manner.

Technology changes rapidly. And equipment and operating procedures are evolving along with it. Even minor changes in how machinery is connected to computers can create safety issues. For example, a loose connection left unchecked could create an electrocution hazard.

As manufacturers increasingly adapt mobile solutions to manage processes, communicate or seek approvals, it is vitally important that security personnel understand the importance of being aware of their surroundings and that they do not multi-task while walking on the shop floor. There are simply too many potential safety issues that could wipe out any productivity enhancements from technology investments.

Security supervisors are tasked to continually observe all employees. If a staff member is not working safely, it is vitally important to find out why. The answers could help an organization shore up its safety goals—critical for a successful daily operation.

Technology Innovation Critical in Industrial Sector

Technological development makes industrial and manufacturing plants safer, but it also presents new safety hazards. Consider the hand-held radio was once the gold standard in communications among equipment operators has now been replaced with texting. Texting while operating machinery or driving clearly should not be done under any circumstances.

The emergence of technology into the security sector offers more opportunities for security system enhancements and program integration than ever before. A great advance in the sector is the burgeoning role of autonomous data machines (ADMs or robots) and drones that are purposely built for security programs seeking to increase threat awareness and management through the strategic integration of people, processes and technology.

Consider this example of a major automobile manufacturer using new technology for enhanced intelligence. The company implemented an electronic platform to consolidate all reporting, metric collection, post orders and other security-related documentation via a central desktop. It locates and tracks its data online via one portal, eliminating the need for about 80-90 percent of paper records across multiple facilities.

A GPS key ring tracking system can locate and recover each set of keys in use by the security force in the event they are misplaced or lost. This helps ensure the integrity of the site while reducing liability and exposure to the company’s security vendor of high-security keys in daily use.

Additionally, this major automobile manufacturer is working with Intelligent Drone Systems, which offers state-of-the-art drone technologies for government and industrial organizations. In place is a 360-degree field-of-view GroundAware GA1360 Surveillance Senor and Information System, which enables automated real-time monitoring of and response to physical security threats at critical sites and a Drone Home Aerial System that provides an advanced active response for external security missions.

Threats, crime and disruption do not operate on a timetable, nor do they sleep. Drones and robots provide 24/7 autonomous patrolling and monitoring including automatic recharging without human intervention so that a company’s assets can be secure 24/7. Some manufacturing facilities use drones or robots for perimeter security patrols, which provide “smart eyes and ears” that enable security personnel to do their job more effectively.  Some industrial companies are benefitting from the extra bells and whistles concerning access control that this sophisticated technology provides.

What if during certain hours of the night there absolutely should be no people wandering through the premises? Both ADM and drone technology are capable of sending real-time detection alerts to relevant personnel, based on pre-programmed traffic or condition parameters, including corresponding recorded video. Additionally, with time-stamped data provided, users can search through all the other detections in the deployment to better understand the conditions on the ground at that point in time.

What is the protocol when vehicles are not authorized to be on the premises for more than a certain period of time? Drone or ADM technology can inform security personnel that a vehicle has been parked at a location for more than 24 hours, with an alert. It can also provide data on the top 10 stationary vehicles in an area and the parking meter readout for each, by the hour.

What if a domestic dispute arises with the spouse of an employee continuing to pay visits to the plant, or the company fears a disgruntled and/or terminated employee will return to cause a disturbance? The drone or robot can be programmed to recognize license plate information or MAC addresses from mobile devices and push an alert upon detection.

Intelligent Real-Time Monitoring

Remote video monitoring—and other end-to-end security solutions that include cameras, access control, traditional alarms, and remote audio features—are gaining attention as a powerful security force-multiplier for industrial enterprises. By leveraging video analytics with real-time, event-based monitoring, companies are able to more successfully manage risk. Employing Monitoring and Response Centers and establishing Security Operations Centers (SOCs) or Global SOCs helps detect threats and deter crime.

Not only does real-time threat monitoring improve situational awareness for the existing security force, but it also enhances day-to-day security operations and can improve cost efficiencies. Building an effective world-class manned protection force for the industrial sector requires industry knowledge, continual planning and training and oversight. Organizations that thrive empower their security teams to be competitive, resilient and inspired in a 21st-century society so they can continue to be relevant, challenged, engaged and productive.

About the authors: Kenneth Bukowski is Vice President for Vertical Markets for Allied Universal, the largest provider of security services in North America. He can be reached at [email protected]. Guy J. Hassfield is Vice President for National Accounts for Allied Universal. He can be reached at [email protected].