We all want to think that we can trust our staff and that they would never behave in a dishonest or malicious manner. Unfortunately, in this day and age, theft is all too common on the job site. In fact, professional industry estimates are that over $1 billion in losses every year are due to theft. The numbers have been growing ever since the mid-1990s and show no signs of stopping. Here are some tips to prevent job site theft and how you can mitigate the damage when these incidents occur.
Damages from Theft
The most obvious damage from job site theft come from the immediate loss of equipment and materials. You may suddenly not have the tools you need to perform a job. You might lose out on important construction materials from copper pipe to drywall.
This direct loss then leads to secondary losses: you have to pay extra money to replace the lost materials, and you may run overtime or over budget on the job as a result. This doesn’t even consider the loss in man hours as your crew waits for the needed tools and materials.
Why Construction is Targeted
Construction sites are often targeted for construction for several reasons. They often have poor security due to the very chaotic nature of the industry. This extends to off hours — nights and weekends — where things are often just parked and left unattended.
Equipment and vehicles have easy-access open cabs. A single key can operate most, if not all, of the equipment on a site. Record keeping is also often poor, meaning it’s hard to track when something goes missing.
Perpetrators of theft from job sites can include those who aren’t even employees, who simply break into the site looking for a quick smash-and-grab. They can also include workers who are desperate and in need of money, or very often can include disgruntled workers who feel they are “owed” something, or who have recently been let go.
There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of job site theft. When no one is working, keep the area well lit. Check up on things regularly and be sure your staff sees you doing it so they know you’re paying attention. Try to schedule supply delivery as you need it rather than stocking up right at the beginning of the job.
Maintain thorough records of all equipment, tools and materials and practice strong inventory management. Make sure that your perimeter is secured and locked down. Look into theft deterrents and recovery systems so that any equipment that is lifted can be tracked down.
No matter how secure you are, there is always the risk that someone will find a loophole and engage in job site theft. In order to mitigate damage, you should always carry employee theft protection on your insurance policy. Standard insurance generally does not cover you against theft; specialized coverage is necessary.