Protect Your Biggest Assets

Ensure your heavy equipment is safe when it’s left unsupervised
Protect Your Biggest Assets
To prevent theft, find ways to avoid leaving equipment unsupervised whenever possible, particularly in remote areas. When equipment is left unattended for lengthy periods of time, however, find ways to make it difficult to move.

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Heavy equipment theft is not only a growing problem in the United States but a costly one. The National Equipment Register estimates that the annual associated price tag is between $300 million and $1 billion. 

With members of organized crime rings involved in many of these heists, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recover items that have already gone missing. The National Insurance Crime Bureau — a not-for-profit organization that partners with insurers and law enforcement agencies to combat insurance fraud and crime — estimates that the recovery rate is less than 20 percent. 

Because of this, prevention is not only important but also essential, and the NICB offers several tips for safeguarding some of your biggest business assets, including excavators, graders and skid-steers. 

Shield your investment

First off, find ways to avoid leaving equipment unsupervised whenever possible, particularly in remote areas. When equipment is left unattended for lengthy periods of time, however, find ways to make it difficult to move. 

Use lockout devices or secure lever controls to keep the equipment in a curved position and prevent it from traveling in a straight line. Machinery can also be clustered together with the more easily transported equipment in the center of the circle and larger pieces surrounding. 

Additional precautionary measures suggested by the NICB include installing an anti-theft device, a hidden fuel shut-off system, or a system that disables the electrical or ignition if universal keys are used. 

Finding an organized way to track all of your heavy equipment is yet another strategy. This should include, at minimum, a photo archive and a log of serial or PIN numbers. 

If you can find ways to mark your equipment and make it clear who owns the machinery, even better. The Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association recommends inscribing your company name on the buckets, boom and frame of your equipment to help police verify who owns the machine and to deter would-be thieves. 

Keep in mind, too, that sometimes it’s not just the heavy machinery they go after, notes Frank Scafidi, director of public affairs with the NICB. “Accessories or tools that are stored in or on a piece of heavy equipment are more easily stolen, which makes securing them more important,” he says. Secure these items in a hardened location such as an alarmed construction site office or on-site steel supply trailer. 

“Bottom line — if it’s visible and accessible, it’s at risk,” Scafidi adds. 

Reduce your risk

Taking a number of preventive steps will take extra time, effort and potentially funds, but it could also save on extra headaches and hefty price tags that stem from the loss of heavy equipment and replacement. 

Working hard to reduce your level of risk might just improve your own bottom line in the long run.



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