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4 Ways a Visitor Management Program Helps Increase Workplace Safety

Posted by Dan Ryan on Nov 20, 2017 10:00:00 AM

A_front_desk_in_the_lobby_of_an_office_building.jpgThink about a standard Visitor Management system.

What's the main goal any system should strive to achieve?

"Well, that's obvious," you think. "It should be able to tell you who is coming and who is going from your premises at all times."

Hey, you've been reading our website!

Sounds simple enough, right?

However, if you dig a little deeper, there's a larger root cause behind every Visitor Management system.

After all, most organizations aren't just a bunch of nosy people who want to know the names of strangers coming by.

No, the overarching goal of Visitor Management is to increase workplace safety for all on-site personnel, including both staff and guests.

And if you stop and think about it, it makes a lot of sense: Visitor Management systems try to identify threats, prevent unauthorized access and record any incidents, three key components to keeping a work site safe and incident-free. 

However, today's Visitor Management systems go far beyond simply recording a name when it comes to keeping your workplace safe from violence.

Visual deterrents, watch lists and more

Gone are the days of Visitor Management being a notebook left on a table at the entrance to an office (if you read this and think "hey, that sounds like our office," PLEASE let us help you).

Today's Visitor Management systems are scalable and comprehensive, modern and security-focused. It's no surprise, then, that a good Visitor Management system plays a vital role in keeping a site safe. 

Here are four reasons Visitor Management increases workplace safety at sites of all kinds.

1. A Visitor Management installation serves as a visual deterrent to would-be troublemakers.

Imagine a person with bad intentions arrives at a workplace to confront an employee due to a business deal gone bad or a relationship gone sour.

He or she would likely be presented with one of two scenarios upon arrival:

  • An unstaffed lobby with no one around, allowing the person to walk right in
  • A staffed lobby with a computer and a sign that says "All Guests Must Check-In"

Which one do you think that person would prefer to see?

The answer, of course, is obvious. Like a little kid trying to sneak cookies before dinner, people are far more likely to act up or cause trouble if no one is around to see them.

Security cameras will do a great job of recording any incidents that occur, but by nature, they're designed to be more subtle, to simply do their job in the background.

By having an obvious, staffed Visitor Management installation at your entrance, you're doing a number of things:

  • You're showing all who arrive at your site that this is an organization that takes safety and security seriously.
  • You're warning all nefarious characters that they won't be allowed unfettered access to your site.
  • You're discouraging those same characters from attempting to cause harm in the first place.

When a criminal or disgruntled person arrives at a site with bad intentions, he or she will not be happy to be presented with a staffed entrance.

The simple presence of a Visitor Management solution, be it a guard issuing handwritten badges or a software system that requires license scanning, adds an air of security to your site and helps discourage people from attempting incidents before they even have a chance to occur.

2. Visitor Management makes it easier to identify people who are not authorized to be on-site.

At large organizations, it can be difficult to keep everyone straight. With different floors, different departments and different buildings, it's not easy to know who belongs on-site and who doesn't.

This confusion creates an obvious safety risk: knowing who's on-site and whether or not those people are supposed to be there is key to keeping a workplace safe, and confusion leads to vulnerabilities.

Visitor Management helps to solve that problem: by identifying guests with visitor badges, a Visitor Management system makes it easy to quickly identify people who are on-site without authorization.

A_visitor_badge_showing_expired_and_unexpired.pngConsider the following:

A group of co-workers is walking through a company building to get to the cafeteria. They'll probably pass several people on the way. Most people look a little familiar, some more than others. However, the group walks past one person standing in the hallway outside of an office, a person no one in the group has seen before.

Perplexed, the group continues on its way, only to later find out someone burglarized that same office a few minutes after they walked by.

Take the same situation, and apply a comprehensive Visitor Management system:

Each employee, per company policy, is wearing an ID badge that makes it clear he or she belongs n-site. When passing the person in the hallway, the group notices that he or she isn't wearing any kind of visitor badge.

Aware that this person has (at best) lost his or her badge or (at worst) evaded security to enter the building, the group is compelled to let security know there's a situation that needs to be checked out. Security comes to verify the status of the guest and catches the thief in the act.

In the situation above, Visitor Management makes it instantly clear that someone is on-site without permission. This knowledge can be key in preventing violence or theft, as it allows security to be notified before anything actually happens.

3. Watch lists allow you to keep certain people out, preventing them from ever getting on-site.

As we discussed in the first entry on this list, deterrents are a great way to prevent incidents from ever occurring at your site.

However, some people won't be deterred by a Visitor Management installation, and will still try to walk up to the desk and check in.

The employee at the front desk asks the guest for some kind of ID, and enters the name in your system.

Suddenly, a message appears:

NOTICE: Adam Hardy is not allowed on-site due to being on the DISGRUNTLED FORMER EMPLOYEES list.

When your staff member sees this message, he or she alerts security and calmly explains to the guest that he or she is not allowed on-site.

Thanks to your Visitor Management system, a disgruntled former employee was prevented from gaining access to your facilities.

Maybe he or she was there to reclaim forgotten office items, or maybe he or she was there to harm a former supervisor. By intercepting the former employee at the front door, you'll never know what his or her intentions were.

Instead, you'll know that he or she never got on-site in the first place, ensuring that your employees and authorized guests remained safe.

Many Visitor Management systems allow for the creation or importing of watch lists, be it a custom list made up of former employees or a local sex offender registry. 

If your site has people that you know need to be kept out, a Visitor Management installation is a great way to ensure those people remain on the outside, looking in.

4. Knowing who's on-site helps ensure all people are accounted for in case of an emergency.

In the event of an emergency, one of the most important things a facilities manager or safety marshal can do is figure out who is missing. This allows first responders to have a better idea of where they need to go to find people in trouble, potentially saving lives by eliminating delays.

WOL_-_Evacuation_1.pngBy using a Visitor Management system, you know that you'll have detailed records of guests on-site. But did you know many Visitor Management programs also offer modules that allow for employee attendance tracking?

It makes sense, if you think about it: signing guests in and out isn't really much different from having employees sign in and out.

By using a Visitor Management system for both functions, you'll have detailed records of who was on-site at the time of your emergency.

You can then conduct a physical roll call or use your system to send out an alert to determine which personnel are safe and which aren't responding.

When you see that several employees are still missing and know that they were in a meeting on the third floor, you can quickly direct emergency personnel to that location.

 Your Visitor Management system just saved precious seconds and increased workplace safety again, even in the face of danger.

Visual deterrents. Detailed records. Easy verification. Violence prevention. It's easy to see how a good Visitor Management program will lead to a better experience for staff and guests alike.

Get more information on how we can help you implement a Visitor Management program at your site by clicking the button below for a free no-obligation consultation with one of our Visitor Management experts.

Let's talk workplace safety >>

Topics: Visitor Management, expiring visitor badges, healthcare Visitor Management, education Visitor Management, office visitor management, business visitor management, workplace violence, workplace safety

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