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July 23, 2020

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Three essential reasons to upgrade your access control technology

Construction security

How to prevent crane climbers from accessing construction sites


Kai Stok, founder of Stok K9 Security Services

There is a growing trend in videos being posted on social media of dangerous and adrenaline-fuelled stunts involving construction sites, which have the potential to results in disastrous consequences for everyone involved. Crane climbers are a common issue, so just how do you secure your site better and prevent this from happening? Kai Stok, founder of Stok K9 Security Services, offers his advice.

We currently find ourselves in a period of unprecedented uncertainty and instability. The construction industry has been impacted massively by the coronavirus pandemic and only now is it starting to demonstrate some degree of return to normality. COVID-19 has heightened risks which, despite restrictions easing, continue to reap havoc across the sector. More specifically, construction sites are falling victim to trespassing crane climbers. Foolhardy individuals take it upon themselves to climb large cranes and pose a substantial risk to both their own wellbeing and the reputation of a project.

Posting infamous photos on social media to capture the interest of onlookers, crane climbers notoriously endanger themselves, the public, site employees and expensive equipment. With the profitability and success of projects being fuelled by pressures to survive lockdown with few interruptions, this is a dangerous activity that every site needs to address.

As the founder of Stok K9 Security Services, I have vast experience in the world of security. I understand the preventative measures you can take to deter crane climbers, avoiding multi-million-pound lawsuits should they injure themselves on site and damaged equipment at a time when productivity is of the utmost importance. To help you deter crane climbers, enhancing the security measures in place on your site, I have outlined the services every site manager ought to utilise:

CCTV and surveillance

First and foremost, evaluate your on-site CCTV. How comprehensive is the coverage it provides? Are there any blind spots? Does your surveillance feed directly back to a team of security personnel? These concerns all need to be addressed if you want to create and maintain an efficient CCTV structure.

CCTV runs best when it operates 24 hours a day, running in tandem with an emergency response team. After all, there’s no point in having CCTV if, upon alarms being set off, there’s nobody to address the trespassers. As adrenaline-fuelled crane climbers risk their lives when climbing this large-scale equipment, it’s vital that experts are on hand to respond swiftly should your CCTV spot them. Consider whether your current CCTV allows for efficient, timely responses and if you’re not working in collaboration with a response team, implement this on site.

Meanwhile, an optimal CCTV setup is one which is paired with a smart security setup. For example, at Stok K9 Security Services we have introduced a ‘georeferencing’ of sorts; digital barriers are drawn up and around your crucial assets which need protecting (in this instance, cranes). These ‘barriers’, if encroached upon, trigger Passive Infrared Sensors (PIRs), which are synced with the CCTV cameras. Your cameras then re-align, zoom or provide an alternate angle to provide a better view. This forward-thinking technology is an efficient deterrent and response tool, protecting your site from crane climbers.


CCTV creates a strong foundation for every security set up, although it may not deter the most intrepid of trespassers. In these instances, a team of on-site guards can prove to be useful.

A team of trained security guards patrolling the perimeter and interior of a construction site acts as a great deterrent. The physical presence of guards on site has a significant impact, introducing another consideration into the minds of trespassers. Not only can they be caught on camera, they can be caught in action. With CCTV alone climbers may fancy their chances at making a quick getaway before a dispatch team arrives; with a team of guards on-site, this risk is quickly snuffed out.

There are important factors to consider should you pursue guarding. Firstly, it’s important to have a high frequency of patrols, this gives trespassers less time between patrol routes to access any cranes. Similarly, you need to consider whether you would like the team to be uniformed and whether they have been screened or vetted. Uniformed guards convey more authority, leaving a stronger impression on potential trespassers. Meanwhile, properly vetting your team is incredibly important. I recommend only using Security Industry Authority (SIA) officers who have been vetted in accordance with BS7858, widely regarded as the premium industry standard.

Trespassers will certainly question their actions upon sight of guards, however the most determined of climbers may continue with their efforts… until they see dogs that is.

Trained dog handlers

Dogs are the most effective means of deterring intruders in my experience. Dogs can detect intruders from a distance where humans simply can’t – their skills are unique and highly specific. At Stok K9 Security Services, we often get asked to provide dogs for the duration of any project which involves cranes on site because their efficiency makes a tremendous difference on the ground. Even hazard signs which simply indicate that dogs are on site prove to be a powerful fool in warding off potential climbers. It’s critical that your canine service, just like your guards, is properly vetted in advance. Ideally, they’ll have been trained in line with British Standards 8517-1.

Ultimately, the most effective way by which you can, with confidence, deter crane climbers, is by utilising all of the services outlined above. Crane climbers are most likely to be stopped when they see no crack through which they can slip, no blind spot that’s been left unchecked. A comprehensive approach to your security method is the best way to cover all bases. In doing so, you’ll protect trespassers, project sites and the businesses behind them.

Additional advice from K9 Protection Limited

In response to the initial publication of this article, further advice to the above was also suggested (view the article in full, here) to support those looking to reduce the temptation for trespassers to access a construction site and risk dangerous activities. These include:

  • Securing your perimeter: Ensure there are no gaps in your fence, and double clip the fence with the fastener facing into the site. Ensure there is no ‘street furniture’ or other items around the perimeter line that trespassers can use to access the site. Check your perimeter weekly.
  • Use signage to warn of patrols, cameras and dogs
  • Secure your gates: Change the default codes on padlocks and ensure your access control system (such as turnstiles) can’t be used as climbing frames.
  • Store tools out of site so they can’t be used against you
  • Secure your cranes, mast climbers and hoists: Remove any keys, isolate the power and park them above ground level. You can also use a non-drying anti-vandal paint on the top of your hoardings as a further deterrent.

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