There is more to entry point control than barriers

Duty of care
As an employer you have a responsibility (whether legal or moral) to staff to protect them from harm and while with security protection this is not always possible, there should at the very least be a clear and documented understanding of the risks of the roles and an assessment of what (if any) protection can be put in place.

If a threat assessment identifies a serious risk that requires an intervention or protection in the form of entry point control then you are understanding and accepting that there is the possibility of a major incident and are crystallising the likely location of that incident with a control point. Any staff deployed to operate systems at the control point (or other staff / general public in the vicinity) will consequently be at enhanced risk and need to have a carefully considered plan to mitigate the risk.

The concern is that when the risk is an explosion then the reaction is often ‘there is nothing that can be done to reduce the localised effect’. While this may be the case, if you can mitigate the risk by even a small percentage then, given that as an employer, you are putting employees at an enhanced danger level, any improvement in protection, however small it may seem, should always be considered.

Risk mitigation can take in many forms and can include physical protection from blast / ballistic attack, as well as adjustments to the operational protocols ensure that the least amount of personnel are at risk at any point in time.

Selection process
With the development of more and more innovative physical blocking solutions, careful research of what is available using product sourcing sites such as HVM hub will aid the process considerably. Whole life cost should always be understood when selecting products and this should include not only the product cost but foundation requirements/cost, installation, warranty periods, maintenance costs and life expectancy. Information on duty cycling and mean time between failure will also help with the selection process.

Using vetted manufacturers (for example PSSA members) will always give some additional confidence that what is being procured/used is from a reputable source with a history of successful projects. Project references are a valuable source of confidence support and can often highlight potential issues that have been seen on similar sites.

Maintenance
While maintenance would arguably sit outside the selection and implementation process (other than whole life costs), it is necessary to include at least a few comments here due to the often overlooked or ignored nature of this area of work. Once an entry point control system has been assessed, designed, procured, installed and commissioned, it is very easy to consider the project complete and this is exacerbated by the likelihood that the maintenance work is more likely to form part of a different department.

The purpose of the system installed and operating is easily forgotten in time, and the criticality of the ongoing functionality of equipment (that was originally installed as a potentially life saving piece of equipment) may be reduced in importance.

It cannot be stressed enough that any product or system protecting critical infrastructure and people must always be fully operational and be available to work if and when required. This is why proper and regular maintenance by fully trained and competent engineers (eg PSSA Installer members) of the equipment should be, and remain, the highest priority once system has been commissioned.

Any entity that enters into a process as described above is doing so to protect lives and critical infrastructure and following the correct process with the best consultants/partners will ensure the best solution.

www.pssasecurity.org

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