Managing Quarry Security and Safety
Safety and security are of huge importance for any quarrying operation
Safety and security are serious concerns for every quarry company across Ireland. Vandalism and theft of equipment are ever-present threats, but...
02 June 2020
Safety and security are serious concerns for every quarry company across Ireland. Vandalism and theft of equipment are ever-present threats, but with a number of fatalities on quarry sites, health and safety concerns are now of paramount importance to the industry. The focus on traditional threats is still necessary, but there is now a shift towards monitoring services to proactively aid in health & safety concerns.
What are the general security issues for quarries?
Copper theft – Quarries store large quantities of copper and other precious metals on site. These metals are prized for their high value and ease of resale.
Diesel theft – Break-ins resulting in large quantities of diesel being stolen from storage tanks and machinery is a problem we frequently hear of.
Liability issues – If anyone present onsite injures themselves, permitted or not, the quarry may be deemed liable if correct safety measures aren’t seen to be in place.
How do quarries traditionally manage safety and security?
Logging of entry and exit times
In many quarries, this is a manual task. The staff member physically records vehicles entering the site, manually inputs the details and the same process on exit.
The problem: Quarry sites by their nature are vast; movement and visual inspection can be a difficult undertaking. In many cases, it may be impossible to provide evidence that safety and security protocols are being adhered to throughout the site.
What if… a staff member fails to record a vital piece of data that results in a safety or security breach? If an excavator is given access to a restricted area and someone is injured as a result. This human error could result in a fatality or liability issue.
Security patrols of the perimeter
Security guards or manned guards are physically present on the site in order to protect it. They often have visibility of the site through perimeter cameras and perform routine patrols around the premises.
The problem: Manned guards can only be in one place at a time. In addition to this, they cannot see over long distances in the dark, unlike thermal and infrared cameras. There is the issue of intimidation from intruders, and also the risk that one person could be attacked in this situation.
What if… an intruder accesses the rear of the site while the security guard sits at the main gate? A security guard is very visible and easy to avoid on a vast site. Intruders can gain access to a site between patrols, without the on-site security being aware of their presence.
Why are quarries choosing a remotely monitored CCTV system for safety and security?
Proactively monitor vast areas
Remotely monitored CCTV is a perfect solution for quarries. Camera detection software allows for proactive monitoring and intervention before a crime happens. It can also highlight a safety concern before a fatality occurs. Specialised infrared and thermal cameras can see in the dark, meaning one specialised camera can cover a vast area in remote locations. This is not only a practical solution but a cost-effective one when compared to an onsite security guard.
Modern infrared security cameras can easily switch between day and night vision. Their effective detection range is very suited to smaller sites. For vast sites, thermal cameras are ideal as they can detect heat and movement over distances up to 1km. They are extremely effective in quarry sites where people and engines stand out against the colder background of the site.
Recording and logging of workplace accidents
Traditionally, CCTV simply recorded crime or vandalism taking place in quarries. Management could then view these incidents after the damage was done. However, many quarries are now focusing on proactively using CCTV to prevent crime and ensure safety procedures are being adhered to.
What are the emerging safety and security solutions at quarries?
Thermal security cameras have been around for a long time. Their practical application at quarries has only been realised fully in the last 5 years. A thermal camera’s field of view is much greater than that of a traditional CCTV camera, particularly in cold environments where heat is very distinguishable e.g. a warm engine parked in quarry. A properly positioned thermal camera can cover an entire quarry, versus multiple infrared/IP cameras dotted around the site.
ANPR – access monitoring
Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) can record and react to vehicles entering or exiting an area. More and more quarries are using ANPR systems to allow automatic access to pre-approved vehicles or to deny access to non-approved vehicles. This system can automatically restrict unauthorised access, and help ensure safety protocols are adhered to on site.
Installation of speed cameras on-site, in conjunction with ANPR, can be used to ensure that safe speed limits are being adhered to. If a vehicle exceeds a speed limit within an area, the ANPR camera records the number plate and alerts the site administrator of the speed violation.
Some areas of the quarry may be restricted to stopping, and only allow traffic to pass through. An integrated loiter detection solution is ideal in this type of scenario. Loiter detection allows areas to be accessed but triggers an instant alert if a person/vehicle overstays a specified time.
What is the latest in CCTV for quarries?
Areas of quarry sites often do not have internet connectivity or onsite electrical infrastructure in place. It can be challenging to provide a CCTV security system to keep these areas secure. Systems can be provided as a temporary solution for building sites, powered by a generator or battery pack.
At Netwatch, the Commander Unit is our portable system offering. The Commander can be connected to the mains or a generator. In addition to this, Netwatch is the only provider of a CCTV unit that can be completely self-powered using hybrid gas technology. This temporary unit can be installed without the need for electricity, construction, cabling or communication works. This self-powered CCTV unit offers many benefits to the quarry sites.
What made temporary CCTV an efficient option?
Where common temporary CCTV systems require power from a generator onsite or battery packs, the Netwatch Commander has a gas-powered option. Other systems require a generator to continuously run to keep the system live and actively monitoring. Refuelling generators and recharging battery packs can be a costly and time-consuming task.
The gas-powered Commander unit is extremely efficient and can operate for up to one month independently before a refill is required. Netwatch will receive an alert once the gas pressure drops and will refill the unit’ so no downtime or additional cost is experienced by the customer.
How does CCTV save quarries money?
Utilising the latest technology, Netwatch provides a cost-effective, accountable monitored security system for any premises. A monitored CCTV system offers substantial cost savings compared to security guards, or traditional CCTV systems that simply record crime.
A proactive CCTV system will protect the perimeter of your business and watch all areas of your site at the same time.
Many quarry managers find the true value of the system is in the peace of mind it offers, knowing that the quarry is protected from crime and the footage recordings can prevent costly liability claims.
Chat with our quarry expert, John Kennedy
Our quarry adviser is John Kennedy. John has extensive knowledge of the range of issues faced by the quarry sector. From his experience of working with a long list of quarry clients, John will advise you on which solution will work best to suit your needs and budget.