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Managing Security in the Workplace

Managing the security of your workplace is an important task and can cover a broad area, from door entry systems, padlocks and cages for equipment, safes for cash or valuables, key cabinets for organisation and communication between staff.  Effective security measures in the workplace will not only protect a business’s valued material assets but also its employees and the public.

The contents and kind of premises you occupy, as well as the industry sector you work in, will all have an influence on the security measures you take to protect it, its contents and your staff. While retail outlets will have more use for safes, money counters and scanners, commercial premises may be more interested in door entry systems and security cables.  For industrial sites security cages and enclosures may be more applicable as the valuable equipment may be larger and a lot of work might be done outside.

One of the hardest parts of workplace security to get right is striking the right balance between maintaining premises security and having an open and attractive workplace for staff, customers and potential clients – make sure you don’t under or overdo it!

When implementing a security plan you should also take account of the relevant legislation such as The Data Protection Act 1998 if CCTV is being used, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.  Security measures may be needed to comply with these as regards the duty of the employer in ensuring employees’ safety.

Tips on Implementing a Security Plan for Your Workplace

An effective security plan will take account of the environment and layout of your premises, any relevant security procedures to put in place and any relevant security systems to install.


  • Provide good visibility and lighting for staff
  • For retail environments site cash-tills away from customers, do not allow cash to build up in tills and place high value goods out of reach or under lock and key
  • Provide bright lighting around the premises and remove any possible cover for assailants or thieves
  • Monitor high risk entrances, exits and delivery points
  • Secure all gates, doors and entrances that are not in frequent use
  • Install and maintain perimeter fencing


  • Check the identity of visitors to the premises and keep a record of them.
  • Establish clear emergency procedures and provide relevant training
  • Ensure staff levels are appropriate to tasks and time of day
  • In retail premises, vary the time cash is taken to the bank
  • Provide solution training in dealing with violence
  • Deter criminals by putting up ‘No Cash Held on Premises’ Signs
  • Implement an effective system of communication between staff, especially if they are separated or isolated
  • Introduce a hierarchy of responsibility regarding security (make people responsible for certain aspects)
  • Introduce recorded security checks (for instance a log book of door checks)
  • Treat certain aspects of security procedures as highly confidential (for instance personal alarm codes).
  • Conduct regular risk assessments and actions regarding security (e.g. Before installing new security equipment to deal with a new threat, consider how it relates to your old security systems)

When selecting security systems consider:

  • Whether the security system is appropriate to the risk (discreet but effective)
  • Ease of use by staff and staff training (security equipment will only be as effective as those operating it)
  • The type of business/business sector
  • The location of the premises
  • The need for emergency access or control
  • The maintenance needed for specific equipment