The Covid-19 lockdown could be eased during late spring, but security challenges will not end then for businesses, warns Steve Frost, an integrated solution specialist with G4S Academy in the UK and Ireland.
G4S provides a range of security services to UK utilities companies and has innovative technology and highly trained teams at projects including Hinkley Point C nuclear new-build in Somerset, and London‘s Thames Tideway Tunnel.
And while the coronavirus will continue to cause disruption well into this year, its ramifications might only compound other threats to utilities companies. Frost says that in some key areas it increases the risk.
He rates lone working as a top 10 hazard for employees. “With eight million lone workers in the UK now, employers must place high importance in assessing and mitigating the risk to those employees. Given the remote location of many utilities sites, lone worker protection systems should be seen as essential.”
The biggest threats to the industry during 2021, says Frost, will stem from “a well-established link between times of economic downturn and civil unrest, which in turn leads to significant increases in organised crime, and opportunistic crime”.
Metal theft is a primary security concern. “Energy sites, for example, and in particular renewable energy sites such as solar farms and onshore wind, often have a huge footprint in remote locations with an undefined perimeter. This makes them a regular target for metal theft.
“At times of civil unrest there is always an increase in protest activity, and power generation sites – especially coal and gas – are regularly targeted. With the spotlight on climate change growing every year, and the notable increase in demonstrations from groups like Extinction Rebellion, the threat posed by protest activity to energy sites is not going to stop anytime soon.”
“When it comes to security, the fundamental goal is always to ensure that the risk posed by any threat is as low as reasonably possible. In many circumstances, this is achieved through Detect, Delay and Respond. This means ensuring that you have systems in place to identify security threats at the earliest possible opportunity (Detect), making it as hard as possible for the threat to get to the person or property that is vulnerable (Delay), which gives you the time to deploy the people or technology you need to stop the threat (Respond).”
G4S invites those working in the sector to join a free interactive online session on 16 February to share views and learn best practice from experts. Register here to join the round table.
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