BUSINESS MANAGEMENT: Assessing Security Risks

Today, more than ever, companies need to reduce their exposure to physical security threats and establish prudent risk management practices. This is especially true now that many insurance policies have terrorism exclusions.

Many waste companies conduct hazard assessments as part of their safety, health and environmental risk management policies. But to meet current security needs, as well as to include additional safety precautions, extra time and money must be allotted for the review.

Additional assessment steps can heighten employee safety and environmental safeguards; minimize theft or damage to company property and equipment; reduce vandalism, trespassing, liability and insurance costs; and deter disgruntled employees from sabotage. Companies should examine the effects of surrounding buildings or landscaping, a site's physical construction, and the accessibility of the facility's entrance.

Companies should consider including measures for:

Intrusion prevention

Entrances and exits should be controlled, with restricted or manned entry points. Buildings with multiple, unmanned access points enable intruders to easily enter a facility. Consider installing perimeter fencing, when practical, and eliminate hiding places.


Post restricted access signage conspicuously, and direct visitors and trucks to a predetermined area.


Equip facilities with alarm systems, which may be supplemented by security guards and closed-circuit cameras.


Full-time guards contribute to security programs. Security officers also can help to coordinate emergency procedures or assist with first aid and CPR.


All doors should remain locked, including closets, and electrical, mechanical and control rooms. Ground level and other accessible windows should be locked or barred.


Security lighting should be installed around buildings, storage tanks and storage areas.

Backup systems

To keep critical systems operable, emergency electricity, cooling water or other utilities may be necessary.

Visitors and deliveries

All nonemployee entrants, including visitors, contractors and delivery personnel, should be required to sign in. Receptionists or guards should verify visitors' identities. Additionally, visitors and contractors with identification badges should be escorted throughout the facility and not be given combinations or keys.

Employee background checks

Background checks should be performed on all company personnel, particularly those with access to sensitive operations.

Emergency procedures

Existing emergency response plans, such as evacuation procedures, should be reviewed and updated. Also, develop procedures to shut down sensitive operations.


Maintain communication with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, explaining the facility's security efforts, and the materials and operations being protected.

Written policy

Explain the written security policy to all employees. Encourage employees to enforce security by stopping people without badges, and reporting suspicious persons or other security concerns.

Security threats are significant concerns, but they can be effectively managed with foresight and planning. And reducing a facility's chance of security breaches greatly protects an organization's bottom line and safeguards employees, company property and finances.