Developing an effective system of security

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Three key factors influence the development of an effective system of security or safety for any workplace.  They are:

  1. Laws directly applicable to the workplace that are usually enforced through a regulator;
  2. Other relevant regulatory or legal influences including workplace health and safety, contracts between parties, trade practices, anti-discrimination legislation, security regulation, planning permits and the like; and
  3. Common industry practice such as standards and industry guidelines.

To minimise risk, a good system is founded upon a risk assessment that typically results in the identification of a number of security/safety risks and then the introduction of physical, personnel and procedural measures to minimise those identified risks.  This is most evident in approaches to risk minimisation in occupational health and safety through three simple steps:

(1) find the hazards,

(2) assess the risks; and

(3) fix the problems.

Studies consistently show within any system it is the operational discretion that can be exercised by individuals that creates most risk. System deficiencies are often evinced through person and system analysis. Human fallibilities include forgetfulness, inattention to detail and fatigue, whereas system deficiencies often arise due to poor system development such as inadequate risk assessment, unsuitable induction or training of staff, and failing to build defences, barriers and safeguards against key risk issues.

It is important to remember that human fallibility cannot always be changed. However employers can change the conditions under which humans work.

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