Contractors should call the shots to stop plant theft
European Union contractors are in control when it comes to plant security, because they have contracted out of plant theft.
They refuse to hire or allow unsecured machines on their sites, and refuse to
accept responsibility for the security of machines hired to them. They do not sign hire conditions that make the hirer responsible if a hired in machine is stolen.
European contractors specify the security they want on the machines. The
hire companies pass their customers' requirement to the manufacturer, who
supplies the specified security. In the UK a procedure whereby the contractor can specify the security and safety features he requires would present UK hire companies and manufacturers with some difficult choices.
In the past two years UK contractors have indirectly spent about £250M to replace the 11,000 machines that were stolen and not recovered. How can UK contractors manage resistance from their suppliers?
• Evaluate how much money your company has paid out in the past three to five vears because of machine theft. downtime, crosshire, admin, safety claims, insurance excess and increased premiums.
• Ask security system suppliers what their product does, get customer references and demand to see the product demonstrated on your machines.
• You need a flexible, fit for purpose anti-theft system. Electric immobilisers only disable a machine's wiring with coded electronics and relays. A machine with a diesel engine can easily be started by
supplying power directly to the starter circuit. It takes less than 90 seconds to isolate and hot-wire bypass, without using a key, cutting a wire or damaging the machine in any way, and thieves know this. Think about asking for an immobilisation system that shuts off the diesel fuel supply, hydraulics and machine electrics.
• 92 percent of stolen plant is never recovered. Trackers provide super asset management facilities but will not stop your machine been stolen. Nor will a registration or identification system.
British contractors are their own worst enemy. They are the ultimate customer of manufacturers and hire companies, but they need to take control.
Patrick Sheeran is founder & CEO of Kosran.
Taken from May 2011 issue of New Civil Engineer Magazine.