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Safety And Security

Caught On Video Surveillance

November 10, 2011
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Cleaning professionals wear many hats today.

Some of their other job responsibilities may include maintaining door hardware and locks, roof maintenance, lighting repairs/replacement and grounds care.

Additionally, a facility''s security plan is an area in which the cleaning crew is more involved today compared to past years.

Securing Safety And Assets

The blanket phrase "a secure facility" is about more than just the commercial building''s interior space.

A secure facility entails monitoring of common areas, inside and outside a building.

While a security guard or other dedicated administrative official can visually monitor a specific area, he or she cannot be everywhere at all times.

Therefore, a closed-circuit system and strategically placed video surveillance and monitoring devices can prove to be invaluable in assuring that nothing is out of the ordinary in and around a facility.

Maintaining the safety and well-being of the facility and its occupants is the primary function of a proper video surveillance and security plan.

However, facility managers can also use these video cameras throughout the building for other reasons as well; particularly, recording daily happenings in the facility may actually help to protect a facility owner''s assets.

For example, according to, which is a website focused on providing information "to help average people understand the personal injury claim and settlement process," victims are more likely to win a slip and fall case when the injury occurs on a commercial property rather than on a residential property.

And, adds the site, "Many commercial establishments carry insurance to cover indemnity in this type of action. As a result, most slip and fall accident cases are settled out of court."

Although most slip and fall incidents are legitimate, those individuals with ill intentions undoubtedly are more apt to target commercial facilities for frivolous slip and fall lawsuit opportunities.

For facility owners and managers who may question the return on investment for a quality video surveillance program, consider this: The average cost just to defend a slip and fall lawsuit is $50,000.

Catching just one phony in the act or using recorded actions to your successful defense pays immediate dividends.

Answering Security Needs

Every facility is unique and, depending on your facility''s distinct needs, a video surveillance program should be tailored as required.

Facility security is not a one-size-fits-all concept.

Facility managers need to answer some questions first, including the types of cameras to be used, where they will focus and how many are necessary to achieve your aims.

Earlier, grounds care, door maintenance and lighting were mentioned.

Although few synergies exist between these job responsibilities, the cleaning and maintenance department''s involvement has increased in these tasks as a result of downsizing, the blurring of departments and the shifting role of the professional cleaner.

Fortunately, to preserve the integrity of your video surveillance and security plan, grounds care, door maintenance and lighting upkeep all play an important role.

Lifting the cleaning department''s status, facilities that can streamline these job responsibilities are ahead of the curve when it comes to communication.

This, in turn, elevates the cleaner''s value and also provides some employment assurance.

In past years, when these departments were segmented, communication gaps often occurred and hindered the effectiveness of video surveillance.

For instance, the grounds care crew may neglect a tree''s branches that are obstructing the camera''s view.

Or, the maintenance department is not made aware of an important lighting replacement at a key entry, again lowering a camera''s effectiveness.

Facility managers must be sure to look at the big picture.

Sound video surveillance and facility security is built on a strong foundation of proper grounds care, frequent lighting checks and timely replacement as well as implementing the latest lock technology.

Landscaping should be low and well-maintained.

Clear, unobstructed sight lines from inside the building to the parking lot and around the facility are recommended.

The areas that are most ideal to set-up video surveillance will vary from location to location.

If you are going to make the investment, be sure to select dependable hardware and software, if needed, and partner with a supplier that is an expert in the field of facility surveillance.

Recent Articles by Rich DiPaolo, editorial director

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