Safe and secure [from the MM&D print edition]

by Array

Traditionally, you wouldn’t expect the Annual Fall Conference of the International Warehouse and Logistics Association’s (IWLA) Canadian Council to bear any similarity to an episode of the TV show Law & Order. However, when the theme is “Security and Safety Hits the Bottom Line Hard”, and one of the speakers is a detective who just a few hours earlier was catching tractor trailer thieves in a sting operation, crime fiction comparisons tend to find their way into the day’s conversations.

Held in Woodbridge, Ontario, just north of Toronto, the conference opened with constable Morris Shaw of the York Regional Police offering tips on preventing crime through the use of environmental design.

Appropriate lighting, such as bright white LEDs that create good visibility and don’t distort colour recognition (important when describing and identifying what suspected criminals are wearing) should be deployed around facilities. Landscaping should follow the three/seven rule. Shrubs should be kept below three feet and tree branches should be above seven feet. That way there is a four-foot vertical surveillance area, making it easy to see who is on the property. Decorative boulders can serve as barricades.

Shaw also spoke about the care and attention security systems need. Cameras, for example, are useless if they are placed behind obstructions (such as trees or columns) or if they aren’t aimed in such as way as to capture people’s faces as they enter and exit buildings.

Shaw admitted security measures can be thwarted—wheel boots and locks on tractor trailers can be circumvented by anybody who has watched “lock bumping” videos. He acknowledges “security is a huge inconvenience”, but by taking measures to make it harder for criminals to do their jobs, you can minimize losses by making your business a harder target.

Detective sergeant Lou Malbeuf of the York Regional Police’s auto/cargo theft unit was the second speaker of the day. Malbeuf and his team had spent the early hours of the morning catching a tractor trailer cargo theft gang, a bust made possible thanks to a tip from somebody in the industry about a fired employee who had been leaking information about deliveries and schedules.

Knowing a theft was likely to take place, the police loaded a “bait” trailer with cargo (and a hidden GPS unit and a silent security device to notify them when the trailer was moved), and allowed it to be stolen and taken to an off-site warehouse location. There, the police not only found people unloading the shipment, but they also discovered a large cache of items that were likely stolen goods. Malbeuf applauded the person who gave him the tip, saying he needs as much help as he can get. “Without you guys, I can’t solve crimes.”

Malbeuf emphasized most supply chain thefts, whether they occur in truck yards or warehouses, are inside jobs, so he strongly recommends criminal background record checks on all employees.
Keith Parisien, an associate and senior project manager in the security and IT systems group of Thornhill, Ontario-based program management and engineering firm MMM Group, was next. He reviewed and compared different types of security monitoring and access systems. While there is no one best solution for everybody, he said businesses need to employ best practices when it comes to maintaining, managing and operating any security system.

He also reminded the audience the relationship with the security system vendor and support team is vital.

“We see issues with core components becoming obsolete and no longer supported by the manufacturer, so with no replacement parts available, the system stays down,” he said. Suppliers should provide not just sunset/end-of-life agreements, but also offer full support during the lifetime of the products.

Tim Reed, an actuarial associate with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario, said the WSIB is imposing a two percent increase for 2012, raising the average premium rate from $2.35 per $100 of insurable earnings to $2.40 for companies classified as general trucking or warehousing.

Paul Casey, vice-president of programs and strategic development for the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association of Ontario (IHSA), was the final presenter. He said the Safety Group rebate for 2011 will be $3.9 million, which will be shared among the 168 member firms of the organization. Safety Group members get a slight (5.3 percent) reduction on their WSIB premiums compared with non-participating companies.

Casey also discussed the arrival of the Certificate of Recognition in Ontario (COR). COR is an employer-driven, best practices, continuous improvement health and safety certification program backed by mandatory audits.

To achieve COR certification, companies apply to the IHSA, complete three courses and perform a self-assessment. The IHSA conducts a desk audit and offers suggestions for improvements. A full third-party audit follows. Certification lasts for three years.

All COR programs address 13 common elements including hazard analysis and safe job procedures. Ontario adds five additional ones: occupational health; first aid; health and safety committees; workplace violence and harassment; return-to-work policies; and management reviews.