Study: High Tech Security Not Always Best

February 27, 2002 ( - Opting for the most high tech - and probably most expensive - tool to keep your employees safe while on the job may not be the best move, a new study says.

According to an Associated Press report, the study found that locked doors and arranging to have employees work in groups does more for workplace safety than installation of bulletproof glass and sophisticated video surveillance.

The study, by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found that the equipment that proved most effective was bright lighting.

Having a security guard at the job site does some good, researchers found. However, several common security measures didn’t have an appreciable impact in preventing robbery slayings, the researchers said. They are:

  • surveillance cameras,
  • signs warning about limited cash on hand, and
  • improved visibility from the outside

Lead study author Dana Loomis said that a locked door or the prospect of witnesses would probably deter someone more than being caught on surveillance equipment.

Researchers compared safety measures taken at North Carolina businesses where 105 workplace deaths – 60 of which were robbery-related – occurred between January 1994 and April 1998, with 210 randomly selected locations within the state where no one died. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The comparison produced a homicide risk for each of the safety measures. The low-tech methods reduced the odds of a homicide by 30% to 70%, the researchers said.