Security Tips to Prevent Jobsite Equipment Theft

Jobsite equipment theft is one of the greatest obstacles facing the construction industry, costing up to $1 billion a year in recovery expenses. Jobsites have thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment lying around, so sites with poor security measures are goldmines for thieves.

Don’t make your jobsites attractive targets. Here are five security tips to prevent jobsite equipment theft and keep your projects going as planned.

Identify Equipment Theft Risks Unique to Your Site

Every construction site has a unique set of risks the manager needs to account for. Specific pieces of equipment or areas of the site might be more vulnerable to theft than others. Evaluate your site and identify these high-risk areas. These items tend to get stolen the most:

  • Skid steer loaders
  • Wheel loaders
  • Backhoe loaders
  • Utility vehicles (trucks, ATVs, golf carts, etc.)
  • Compressors
  • Push/riding mowers
  • Tractors

You also have to pay attention to the smaller details. Thieves don’t always target a whole vehicle. Sometimes they’re looking for specific items:

  • Tools
  • Wheels/tires
  • GPS systems
  • Gasoline
  • Seats
  • Tailgates
  • Catalytic converters

It’s safe to say all of these items – both big and small – play important roles on your site, so you need to take measures to protect them. The easiest thing to do is create an inventory. Know the exact number of mowers, tractors, and other assets your site has and count them at the beginning and end of every day.

Communicate With Your Team

Get your team involved in security efforts to prevent jobsite equipment theft – and lighten your workload. Tell your trusted employees about the site’s security risks and encourage them to take extra precautions.

On the flip side, you also need to identify untrustworthy employees who might give friends access to the site and its equipment. You can’t fire them based on suspicion, so build rapport with them and monitor their job progress to deter them from making the wrong decision.

Make it clear to your staff that you take safety and security seriously. Post signs with clear images around the site that remind everyone about the consequences of thievery. Hold weekly meetings about safety rules. With enough reinforcement, your team will feel compelled to adopt your safety-first mentality and work with both eyes open at all times.

Illuminate the Site

Darkness is a criminal’s best friend, so naturally, you should eliminate darkness from your jobsite as much as possible to help prevent equipment thefts after hours. Use these security devices to illuminate your site when workers aren’t around:

  • Light towers
  • Motion-sensor lights
  • Floodlights
  • Spotlights

Light towers can stay on all night, while the other devices have specialties that will make your security harder to predict. For example, you can adjust the direction of floodlights and spotlights and randomize their timers every day so thieves can’t pinpoint a specific time or place to launch their plans.

Consider adding video cameras and/or security camera signs to deter would-be thieves and prevent jobsite equipment theft. Construction site warning signs that direct visitors to a security office can help control unauthorized people from entering. And Do Not Enter and No Trespassing signs are proven deterrents that prevent people from entering a jobsite.

Lock Down Your Equipment

Every vehicle mentioned earlier should have some sort of security device to lock it in place while not in use. Lockout/tagout procedures can be used to help prevent unauthorized equipment usage for everyone, including workers. You can also protect your equipment with these devices:

  • Locks
  • Chains
  • Steering wheel locks
  • Brake/clutch locks
  • Wheel clamps
  • Immobilizers

These devices will keep your equipment locked in place and stop thieves in their tracks. You should also give each piece of equipment an ID number to make it easier to identify in case a thief manages to steal it.

Use Fleet-Tracking Technologies

If a thief bypasses your security and steals something from your site, tracking technology is the only surefire way to get your equipment back. A fleet-tracking telematics system tells you when and how your equipment gets used, plus the exact longitude and latitude of each device. This system will not only prevent thievery but also discourage unsafe operating habits.

Some systems also have a geofence with virtual GPS boundaries. If a machine exits the boundaries, you get a notification via email or text message and can respond to the problem more quickly.

Secure Your Site to Prevent Equipment Theft

You can’t cover every risk on your construction site, but you can address the most problematic areas, communicate with your employees, and secure your equipment on the site. Thieves will see your well-maintained site and look for an easier target. Go the extra mile to complete these tasks and secure your site’s success.

Construction Site Security Resources:

About the Author:

Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, a web magazine for real estate and construction professionals.