Biometrics is on a sharp growth curve and its application in various sectors such as forensics, immigration, healthcare, and commercial enterprises has increased considerably over the last few years. Fingerprint systems have been successfully deployed for providing physical access to restricted areas, PC or network access, time and attendance etc. These systems have come a long way and the new generation of fingerprint systems can significantly enhance security as well as improve employee management.
Few years ago, there were apprehensions surrounding biometric systems if they were accurate enough and capable of handling large populations, among other operational issues. But today’s biometric systems have proved their worth as evident by the successful implementation in various industries and now the focus is on enhancing the value associated with reliable and accurate biometric authentication. Now fingerprint systems are able to provide the right level of security at the exact places required and are also able to dynamically adjust the authentication level required for ever-changing threat levels. They can therefore be effectively used to manage employees, contractors and visitors in construction sites.
Current access control challenges at construction sites
Securing a construction site and providing access control is a challenging task especially for a larger site. There are a lot of unique challenges that need to be addressed for construction sites. A larger site may have thousands of employees and multiple access points. There is also the issue of providing access to countless subcontractors with a work force that change from one day to the next.
Construction sites are in open outdoor areas and may be spread over a huge area. Proximity tags and swipe cards are therefore not suitable for personnel management in these areas. Cards and tags can be shared among workers for co-punching late or absent employees leading to employee time theft and buddy punching. Also, the costs for producing such cards and replacing any lost cards are huge and cost businesses a lot of money. Tracking personnel who are paid by the hour also becomes difficult with current authentication systems as there is no accurate way of knowing if the employee was present for that duration.
Construction site access requirements
It includes protecting the public during construction and also other workers who may be affected by the work at construction site. All construction sites are required to provide detailed information about the boundaries and land usage, measures taken to manage access across the defined boundaries and the steps to prevent unauthorized people from entering the site.
Each year there are cases of children who die after gaining unauthorized access to building sites and many more who get injured. Even though the numbers have reduced, there is still no room for complacency. Site access can be managed by defining the boundaries physically and where necessary by suitable fencing. As per the construction site fencing regulations, the fencing type should reflect the nature of the construction site and its surroundings. Therefore, determining the boundary is an important aspect of protecting the public during construction. People may be authorized to access the whole site or may be restricted to certain areas as decided by the principal contractor.
How can biometrics be used to implement construction site security measures?
The installation and maintenance of biometric site access control systems can simplify site and personnel management in addition to improving security remarkably. Fingerprint recognition systems are ideally suited for construction site access control as the use of proximity tags and swipe cards are inefficient and unsuitable in such working environments. A card based system would require a security guard to verify each employee or contractor against their identity card and then manually enter every person’s information into the register. Therefore, a card based system is not only labor-intensive but also increases risk of security breaches, employee time theft and incorrect payments to hourly contractors. However, an access control system powered by fingerprint readers can meet the demands of this environment and make sure only the authorized workers enter the site.
The fingerprint reader installed at the site can be connected to on-site computers or wider cloud-based devices. Every contractor or personnel working on the site will need to have their fingerprints scanned when they pre-register and complete any required access documents. For subsequent access to the site, the user will simply need to place their finger on the reader to gain access in and around the site. This information can be used to track people movements and also for time and attendance reporting.
For large sites with multiple access points, fingerprint access control systems eliminate the need for somebody to oversee everything. These biometric site access control systems ensure that only the right crew and the right people are on site when they are needed. Constriction site workers often need to clock in and clock out at checkpoints using dirty hands or gloves. However such hands pose no problem for today’s advanced readers that can provide reliable results even with low quality fingerprints. They also provide rapid matching resulting in increased throughput as compared to card based authentication systems.