A Healthier Facility

Simple upgrades you can implement today to make your site more secure

Amid the health, economic, natural, and social crises we’ve experienced in the past year, the critical role that security plays in creating safe and healthy environments is more apparent than ever. However, with the economic uncertainty and reduced budgets, security professionals must find creative ways to enhance the safety, security and efficiency of space.

By leveraging new technologies and applying existing technologies in new ways, we can build resilient access control systems that not only address the everyday needs of facilities, but prepare us to navigate the unknowns.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can do this.

MITIGATE THE SPREAD OF GERMS BY REDUCING TOUCHPOINTS AT THE DOOR

Brought to the forefront because of the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the spread of germs in a facility has become the new standard for healthy spaces. With doors and door hardware being some of the most frequent touchpoints in a building, creating low-touch or touchless openings is one way to accomplish this goal.

Consider installing wave-to-open switches and low energy door operators in restrooms and other high traffic areas such as main entrances. For certain high traffic doors, you may also want to include a motion sensor so the door remains open as people pass through.

Mechanical low-touch solutions are also a great option for openings where you need a simple and economical way to reduce touchpoints. Push/pull trim enables a door to be opened with a push of the hip or pull of your arm and is a great option for restrooms, patient rooms or virtually any door. Specially-designed arm pulls that accommodate a forearm are another way to upgrade openings with a low-touch solution.

Using an arm pull on one side and exit device on the other enables hands-free inswing and outswing action. Indicator locks show you whether a space is occupied before touching the handle and are ideal for applications such as restrooms and meeting spaces.

In addition to reducing or eliminating touchpoints at the door, the pandemic has also highlighted the importance of proper hardware cleaning techniques to mitigate the spread of germs through high frequency touch points within a building. This is especially critical for high security areas that rely on dual-factor authentication and require contact.

USE WIRELESS ACCESS CONTROL TO EFfiCIENTLY MANAGE SPACES

Wireless technologies continue to be an important option for upgrading the security of a facility. The ability to add access control to doors at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions makes it much more viable at a time when security requirements are growing and budgets remain the same. Wireless also allows you to add access control to applications that would be difficult or cost-prohibitive to secure with traditional solutions, such as cabinets, lockers, drawers, and all-glass openings. The range of wireless solutions available makes it possible to find the right solution for every budget and every security requirement.

You can then use this existing access control infrastructure to improve safety by managing the flow of people, limiting the number of people in a particular area, and quickly changing how a space is used. It can also be used to support contact tracing and to restrict access to areas if decontamination is required.

Post-pandemic, corporate office spaces will require a new level of flexibility to support the changing work place. Wireless access control can be used to enable this flexibility as employers manage a mobile workforce who spend part of the week working from home and part of the week at the office. For example, there may no longer be a need to have dedicated office space for employees who come to the office only some of the time. Wireless cabinet locks can be used for lockers where employees can store their belongings, and to manage access to desks. Wireless locks can be used to manage access to spaces for team collaboration.

ADD INTELLIGENCE TO EVERY DOOR

Mechanical key systems are often one of the biggest vulnerabilities in a facility’s security. If a key is lost, you either have to rekey the entire building or assume the risk of that key getting into the wrong hands.

Intelligent key solutions offer a very economical way to control access, achieve compliance, and provide powerful data analytics and reporting. Simply remove the existing mechanical cylinder and install the ecylinder. Power is provided by the Intelligent Key, eliminating the need for any hard wiring or power supply. Ideal for any applications that require the ability to quickly and easily manage access rights and obtain audit trails, intelligent keys are an easy upgrade from mechanical key systems as well as a great add-on to access control openings where an uncontrolled mechanical key override is causing a security risk.

These examples just scratch the surface of what can be done to upgrade the health, safety, and security of a facility. The challenge in front of us is finding the right balance to properly address today’s dynamic environment. Creative approaches, innovative solutions, and ongoing collaboration will allow us to create safer, healthier and more secure spaces that prepare us for the future.

This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Security Today.

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