Health and Safety News

Occupational health and safety news and guidance

Increase office safety with video surveillance

Photo shows a security cameraWhen you run a business, keeping employees and customers/clients safe is crucial — and in today’s world, that often means taking preventative safety measures. In 2010, the average surveillance camera provider performed 120 camera installations per year. While this is down from the 2007 high of 168 installations per year, it's still an impressive number and one that indicates how seriously businesses today are taking the issue of workplace safety. Why is video surveillance a powerful tool for increasing workplace safety? How exactly can surveillance cameras help and why? Here is what you need to know.

Current threats to workplace safety

To protect people, you need to know where danger lurks. In the office realm, safety threats fall into two main categories: internal and external. While it is impossible to predict every single safety problem, most organizations cover their bases by proactively preparing to address the common issues. External threats might include theft or burglary, vandalism, carjacking, bombing, sabotage, unlawful entry and physical violence. Internal threats of workplace violence, a serious and growing issue involving nearly 2 million American workers each year, include harassment, intimidation, threats and bodily harm.

Video surveillance as a security tool

Designed to proactively protect against both external and internal threats, surveillance cameras provide vital monitoring of your premises. Internally, they can counter safety concerns by bringing greater transparency to the workplace: they show you what’s happening where, at any time, anywhere throughout your facility. When there are cameras in stock rooms and copy centers or parking lots and stairwells, office bullies cannot use these places to intimidate or threaten co-workers.

Externally, by clearly monitoring the premises, surveillance cameras can be a first-line deterrence against minor criminals. Prowlers may see the surveillance setup and be turned away from the idea of breaking in and grabbing someone’s laptop or purse. Likewise, cameras can prevent issues of theft or violence, and they can also be helpful to security staff if an unauthorized person gains entrance to the building.

Popular locations monitored include:

  • Stock rooms: Employees need not fear personal safety while trekking to a remote, isolated stock room when they know the route is covered via video camera.
  • Rear entrances: Since rear entrances are popular with criminals looking for easy site access, back door monitoring is an essential part of office security.
  • Loading docks: Keeping loading docks under watch ensures that you can quickly alert security if an unauthorized person tries to enter your facility through the open loading dock.
  • Parking areas: Criminals can break into staff cars or accost employees as they enter or leave the premises. A camera provides peace of mind and can aid law enforcement officials in keeping the area safe.
  • Front door: Keeping a camera on the front door provides recourse in the event of a public disturbance in the lobby. Staff tasked with opening the office may feel more comfortable knowing that a camera is taping the premises.

These are just suggestions of popular locations; there are many other areas that can benefit from video surveillance. Essentially, anywhere you want monitored, a security camera can help. What’s more, DVR recording triggers give you a way to make multi-camera locations more efficient. Some gas stations have more than 40 cameras at one location, for example, giving them eyes everywhere on their location, with one single monitoring tool to identify concerns. In the office environment, where employees bring valuables to work on a regular basis and where multiple people often work together in a close space, security is also of utmost importance.

How video surveillance systems benefit employees

When video surveillance systems are not properly introduced to employees, your staff can end up feeling like they are being punished or watched. That’s why you must take time to get them on board with surveillance systems. Present the reasons that you are installing cameras and hold an open discussion about the situation. Explain how cameras can promote a safe and secure working environment, and list where cameras will be installed. If applicable, discuss when and how the video footage will be reviewed by managers. This way, employees will know what to expect and will not fear the worst. Most of all, show your employees how video surveillance actually benefits them. Consider these advantages from the worker’s perspective:

  • Protection from harm: Anyone who has experienced bullying or violence in the workplace, or even who has known someone who has, gains reassurance through the presence of cameras. They know the office is taking a proactive stance on workplace security. Employees who feel this most acutely will be helpful in getting other staff members on board with the changes.
  • DVR recording triggers: Video surveillance is designed with specific triggers to watch for, meaning employees gain automatic, immediate protection anytime one of those triggers is set off. Say the receptionist keeps a cash drawer where walk-in clients make payments, for example. A built-in trigger could alert the security system anytime he or she hits “no sale” on the cash drawer, the way a thief would when pilfering funds. This and other triggers create convenient, automatic protection employees don’t even have to think about.
  • More secure clients: Whether it’s a salesperson or a customer service rep, everybody appreciates satisfied clients — and video surveillance can make clients feel safe and secure coming to the office, parking nearby and/or meeting with your team. Particularly if there have been security incidents in the area, camera surveillance is crucial for peace of mind for visitors.

Like it or not, office environments can be prime targets for theft, assault and other violence — and whether you have an office of two people or an office of 200, video surveillance is the ideal deterrent to protect your staff. Adding cameras to your location is a surefire protective measure to give your staff peace of mind, your office area greater security and your business the tools it needs to thrive.

Author bio:

Wes Wernette oversees marketing at FireKing Security Group ( in New Albany, IN. He has over 25 years of experience in marketing, product development and sales, particularly in the high tech and security markets.

Go Back