Despite the constant efforts of construction and law enforcement companies, the number of reports of thefts of heavy equipment in the United States is still growing. In 2016, more than 11,574 pieces of heavy equipment were reported stolen through the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). As a heavy equipment owner, there are many steps you and your operators can take for securing heavy equipment from theft. Of course, no workplace is risk-free. But, these tips can help protect your workplace and your valuable construction equipment from theft and vandalism.
1. Maintain a Secure Site
When you start a new project, your first line of defense against device theft is workplace knowledge. For example, if you leave your heavy equipment in the work area overnight, make sure the area is spotless and easily visible from the street to prevent thieves. In addition, it sets up safety devices for the construction site, such as an alarm system or video surveillance to monitor the construction site during and outside working hours. You shouldn’t forget a few tips to close the cab door and close all windows when the operator finishes the job. Do not leave machine keys. Other proactive steps you can take to secure your workplace include:
- Identify other companies or suppliers working in the workplace
- Add a chain gate or gate
- Post warnings and no entry
- Limit the number of people with access
- Install safety lighting or use a beacon to illuminate the workplace
- Consider hiring a security service for a larger workplace with expensive equipment.
If you are unsure of your workplace or are concerned about the safety of your equipment, find a safer place to store your equipment within driving distance or distance from your workplace. There may be more work ahead of us, but it may come at a price to prevent theft.
2. Know Your Equipment
It looks simple. How well do you know the equipment for each project? Knowing the manufacturer, model number, serial number, and date of purchase of heavy equipment and keeping this information in the register is another way to reduce the likelihood of theft. Take a picture of each machine and keep it with details. If you do not know the location of the serial label on your machines, ask your equipment dealer.
Also, make sure that you have registered your heavy equipment through the National Register of Equipment (NER) or NCIC to increase your chances of recovery from equipment theft. NER is a national database of heavy equipment and asset files that assists facility owners and insurers in repairing equipment.
3. Utilize Fleet Tracking Technologies
As an additional measure of protection, heavy equipment is now likely to be equipped with onboard float monitoring technologies for real-time tracking and reporting. Telematics systems can better understand how, when, and where construction equipment is used. The location is given in longitude and latitude, and the mapping software automatically translates to the nearest address.
In addition to tracking the location of a physical machine, many equipment manufacturers offer geofence or time-fencing, which helps business owners or fleet managers control unplanned use and track machines in the event of theft or graffiti. You can use a geofence to set virtual GPS boundaries, and if the machine is operating outside the boundaries, you will be notified by email or text message. In addition, many floating monitoring technologies use a terminal installed in the machine to collect and wirelessly communicate data via a mobile or satellite service. The engine data is then sent to a website where you, your operators, and your equipment dealer can check engine performance, working hours, fuel consumption, engine outages, and hours. You can also check the engine / hydraulic oil temperature and monitor faults and warning codes via a computer or mobile device.
4. Train Operators on Site Protocol
It is essential to instruct your equipment operator about the protocol on-site at any construction site. Then, at the end of each move, your operators park the equipment. Then, close and lock the cab door, and register each piece of equipment according to the protocol on site. Some owners let their operators park the equipment in a circle, with the compact equipment in the middle. This technique reduces the risk of theft.
5. Report Heavy Equipment Theft
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, late reports of stolen equipment are the reason for completely losing heavy equipment. The faster you and your operators report the theft, the greater the chance of recovering the device. If you are the victim of the theft, take the following steps:
- Find it with ship tracking technology.
- Report this to the authorities and provide details of the missing machine, such as size, color, and model.
- Log in to your insurance company and start making a complaint.
- Report your machine to NER.
Equipment theft is a frustrating and costly problem in construction. Develop a comprehensive theft prevention plan and develop consistent vigilance to help reduce theft and vandalism.