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Do you know how to prevent and reduce human error when it comes to security?

Managing Human Error in Facility Security: 4 Ways to Enhance Safety and Mitigate Risks

Nov. 1, 2023
Human error causes up to 90% of workplace safety incidents. That’s a margin of error you can’t afford when it comes to security. Here are four things you can do to mitigate human error.

They say, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” and often, that weakest link is a person. According to the Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety, human error is the cause of up to 90% of workplace safety incidents.

As a facility manager, it’s essential to know how to prevent and reduce human error in order to keep employees safe and protect your facility from security incidents. There are many steps you can take, from increasing automation to developing a strong emergency action plan.

Here’s what you need to know about enhancing facility security by mitigating human error.

1. Automate to Minimize Oversights

One of the first steps to mitigate human mistakes is to automate as much as possible. Automated actions can’t be forgotten, performed incorrectly or left undone intentionally or unintentionally.

There are a wide variety of smart devices that your organization can use to automate security. For example, smart locks can ensure that doors are never accidentally left open. Smart alarms can guarantee that alarms are always equipped appropriately and at the right times. Today’s alarms do more than blare loudly and record activity—they can also detect irregularities in terms of noise, loitering or intrusion and notify you right away.

You can also use automated technology for visitor check-ins, a card reader to control access to the building and more. These steps make your building security more efficient, and operational efficiency helps improve employee wellbeing by reducing accident risks and keeping workloads manageable.

And of course, the more you automate, the lower the chance of human error.

2. Improve Security Processes

Technology solutions are only effective when you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, which is why it’s essential to define specific security processes, improve them and manage resistance to process improvements.

For example, what does the end-of-day lockup process look like? What is the process for visitors to the building? What processes are in place to keep the workplace clear of hazards and encourage the use of safety equipment?

Once you’ve defined these processes, look for inefficiencies and snags. Where do things get off track? What steps do employees seem to skip, and how can you reinforce them? Improve the processes to reduce human error and improve efficiency.

Change is challenging for almost everyone, even good change like process improvements. To ensure that your changes stick, take a look at the reasons process improvements often fail and address the concerns. For example, ensure changes are not overly complex, that there is clear ownership of the new process, and that you’re ready to modify the new process if necessary.

By improving the processes in a way that’s likely to be embraced by employees, you can reduce the likelihood of human error and make your job easier at the same time.

3. Review the Emergency Action Plan

You probably already have an emergency action plan since OSHA requires one for facilities with more than 10 employees. However, it’s likely that you haven’t looked at it in a long time.

Rather than letting it collect dust in a binder, take time to audit your facility’s safety plan. It’s important to move from having multiple small plans for specific situations to having a holistic security plan that takes all your organization’s systems into account.

This is another place where technology solutions can make a big difference. Having a platform that connects to all of your security systems and automatically alerts you when anything is amiss is a vital part of maintaining facility security and minimizing human error.

Once you have the emergency plans and improved processes in place, a facility manager’s next step to improve workplace safety is to hold training sessions so that employees can practice the proper response to emergency situations. This will not only reduce human error in a real crisis, but it will also provide peace of mind both to employees and your facility management team.

4. Make Reporting Security Concerns Easy and Safe

The final step is to empower the humans in your organization to become an asset. Employees often notice problems with security processes, vulnerabilities in technology and situations as simple as a door cracked open or as serious as a planned incident.

However, people don’t always speak up because they’re afraid of retaliation or don’t want to be known as the “rules follower.” By creating anonymous, easy ways to report security concerns, your organization can help maximize the positive impact of employee vigilance in keeping the facility safe.

Minimizing Human Error Minimizes Incidents

Human error is to blame for almost all safety accidents. By taking steps to minimize the human impact on key security processes, you can minimize these risks.

At the same time, you don’t want to completely dismiss the impact of employees at the organization. They can be a great asset when it comes to noticing and reporting security concerns, helping you improve vital processes, and encouraging other team members to embrace and follow security protocols.

As a facility manager, you can use technology to balance the need to minimize human error and maximize incident reporting. The result will be a secure facility and happy, safe employees.

About the Author

Amanda Winstead

Amanda Winstead is a writer focusing on many topics including climate, construction, and technology. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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