Winvic steps up safety with Biosite’s smart fingerprint security

Biosite fingerprint security is being used with very positive results by Winvic Construction Ltd on its Wide Lane project in Southampton.

Winvic’s project is the second phase of a contract to construct four new large business units on the site of a former Ford motor vehicle plant located on the outskirts of the city.

Enhancing the already stringent and extensive safety systems on site are a biometric turnstile at the office and welfare areas as well as an additional biometric reader on the hazard and briefing board in the compound.

Scheme innovation

The biometric system has been developed to make allowance for incomplete fingerprints, as would be found on dirty hands or damaged skin. This makes the system more reliable and relevant for site work. On this project the fire and first aid call points are linked to the biometrics, and if these are activated the turnstile goes to ‘free flow’ to allow swift egress and emergency service access.

The fingerprint reader on the hazard briefing board interlinks with the turnstile and operatives cannot get onto site without first logging in at the hazard board indicating that they have read the updates. As a result of the development of the system on this project the company is now utilising the biometric system more widely including at their head office.

Winvic Site Manager Richard Holmes explains all about how this clever and efficient technology is enhancing site safety:

The traditional signing in book has become an archaic method of knowing who is on site, not least because there are opportunities for information to be wrong or missing. It is also two-dimensional, whereas digital systems allow data to be drawn in from any number of sources so that a person’s comprehensive profile and movements are at your fingertips.

Ian Goodhead, Winvic’s HSEQ Director, had knowledge of biometric scanners from his work at Birmingham New Street railway station but he felt that all of the systems were inadequate in some way.

Intelligent biometric solutions

Introduced in 2010, Biometric technology vastly improves security as fingerprints are truly unique passwords. However, construction sites aren’t the cleanest of environments so Biosite’s development team focussed on creating an algorithm so that the system could read and process a match on a low quality fingerprint.

The next natural step was to develop software alongside this to help sites manage their workforce to vastly improve efficiency, safety and security. When Ian Goodhead watched a demonstration of Biosite’s Access Control & Workforce Management solution he was so enthused by its potential, it was soon being trialled on Primark’s 1 million sq. ft. warehouse site in Thrapston, Northants.

How was it implemented and how does the system work?

The Access Control & Workforce Management system is more accurate than standard fingerprint scanners, facial recognition systems or conventional swipe card and PIN-based identification systems; it allows people to access secure sites based on their own unique biometrics and accreditation information.

Winvic uses the system in four slightly different ways and at its head office in Northampton a fingerprint scanner is located at either side of the main door for entry in and out. On some sites, between one and four turnstiles and scanners are used, but when site entrances have to change locations throughout a project, a tablet with a fingerprint reader and mobile turnstile is used. On vast sites, just a tablet is used.

Biosite linked with fire alarm and first aid call points

Furthermore, Winvic is also using the solution in conjunction with Biosite’s Mercury Wireless Fire Alarm and First Aid Call Points, which meets the relevant sections of the EN54 fire detection and fire alarms systems standard. If a fire alarm or first aid call is raised, access turnstiles are deactivated for an efficient evacuation or access to site for emergency services.

When using the system for the first time a certain amount of information must be taken, as well as a scan of the person’s fingerprint. In addition to recording the time and date of a person’s entry and exit, there are hundreds of other data points that can be added meaning report possibilities are endless.

Limitless data opportunities

For example, if a planning condition requires that 20% of the site’s labour is sourced from a 20-mile radius, the system can calculate the number of miles each member of the workforce commutes. Or if we find a construction programme is behind in one area, we can look at whether the contractors have been on-site for the anticipated amount of time or not.

What benefits has it brought to the workforce and the project as a whole?

Before a person works on a Winvic site they must understandably undertake a site induction and the Biosite system’s online induction provision has streamlined this whole process. Not only is a lot of time freed up but the individual can be inducted at a time that suits them and they can get on with their first day quickly. They watch a video, pre-populate data and are given a code, which we type onto the online portal at site and that person has immediate access to all Winvic sites.

In contrast, should there be a cause for swift disciplinary action, our red and yellow card system translates to a complete ban from all sites or a suspension for a set amount of time. We of course work with individuals to re-educate them in the area of issue, but in a worst case scenario it’s a very reliable method of exclusion.

Biosite’s Access Control & Workforce Management system has so many useful functions from performance monitoring and a reduction in paperwork to efficient people, traffic and data management. It’s a reliable audit trail across HSEQ that I have the utmost confidence in.

Was specialist training required to use this system?

A wide number of Winvic’s team have been trained by Biosite, and one of Winvic’s employees will soon be qualified as an in-house system trainer. At each installation at a new site, a Biosite operative acquaints any new users with the particular set-up, answers questions and ensures everything is working correctly.

Recently published