Employees of MEGTEC, global manufacturer of air flotation dryers and oxidation pollution control equipment, often have to work in dangerous situations, some of which require lockout/ tagout controls. In those cases, employees put locks on electrical, gas or air supplies to make sure nothing happens while they’re working. They may also put a lock on a drain to prevent incoming liquid from reaching them.

Life Safety

People performing maintenance on a machine often are in danger of being electrocuted, crushed or sprayed with toxic chemicals if someone accidentally tries to operate the machine,” said Christopher Campbell, Environmental Health Safety/Security Manager.

In addition, when field service or shop employees travel to customer sites, they often are required to work in confined spaces. This can be any space, room or chamber that is large enough for an employee to enter and work in, but not intended for continuous human occupancy because of limited access and exit. “In other words, it can be dangerous,” said Campbell. “There might be limited air exchange. People die in confined spaces on an all too frequent basis. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires training on how to assess and control hazards in confined spaces and take care of hazards once inside.

MEGTEC oxidisers

In the case of MEGTEC products, oxidisers may need to be inspected on the inside once they are up and running

In the case of MEGTEC products, oxidisers may need to be inspected on the inside once they are up and running. For the sake of safety, customers want proof the employee has had proper training and recertification, which is needed every two years.

It is vital that we limit the number of people who come in,” he said. “Our equipment designs are proprietary.” MEGTEC began its business in the printing and papermaking industries, which still represent the company’s primary customers. But now MEGTEC provides equipment to any industry that requires its products to be dried on a cushion of air. In addition to these air flotation dryers, MEGTEC builds oxidisers that burn complex air polluting hydrocarbons into less polluting materials. “The technology is very simple,” said Campbell, “but the engineering behind it is very complex.

ID-based card authentication

MEGTEC first began using ID cards when an employee from one of its competitors got into MEGTEC’s building and began “nosing around,” said Campbell. It wasn’t long before a fence went up and access control points went in. That was 14 years ago.

Through the years, we have had a number of different ID badge programs for our security,” Campbell said. “We just weren’t satisfied. The printers broke down, it was difficult to change ribbons and clean the machines, and the printers jammed frequently.

About four years ago, Campbell discovered Fargo printers on the Internet and purchased a Fargo DTC510 Direct-to-Card Printer/Encoder. “Since then, we have printed about 1,000 badges,” he said. “All have been good quality. The printer is quick, easy to use and very efficient. It’s an elegant machine, meaning it provides a lot of bang for the buck. There isn’t a lot of wasted motion or effort.

Lockout/tagout locks

MEGTEC uses ID cards to protect the safety of its workers and to verify their training and recertification

MEGTEC uses ID cards to protect the safety of its workers and to verify their training and recertification. To draw extra attention to the lockout/tagout locks, MEGTEC attaches an ID card with the company logo, a photo of the employee and his or her name, along with a sign that says, “Locked out. Do not remove. My life is on the line.

All companies have to have something like this,” said Campbell. “Some have a standard tag, some write the information out each time. We made ours very personal. Individuals who see a person’s face and name are less likely to mess around with a lockout. The cost is only $2.00 per card, which is very reasonable, and it takes only a few second to print one out.

HID proximity technology

MEGTEC’s ID badges are smart cards, using HID read-only proximity technology. Access levels are encoded onto an induction coil by the company’s software. The cards themselves don’t reveal an employee’s access level. The software used by MEGTEC enables Campbell to program new information into the card whenever necessary. “This flexibility allows us to change access levels as needed,” he said. “For example, some employees may need R&D access only for a while, others may join the first aid team. This technology enables us to change access without having to change the whole card.

Borders around the photos on each badge are color-coded, however, for easy visual identification. Red is for employees, green is for vendors, blue is for security staff and white is used for children on “Take Your Kids to Work” day. “We thought it would be nice to give the children a badge just like their mom’s or dad’s,” said Campbell. “They feel more important that way.

MEGTEC’s optical barcode scanner

Each ID card is actually two cards in one. with each containing a barcode with an employee’s time clock number for use with MEGTEC’s optical barcode scanner

Each ID card is actually two cards in one. Each contains a barcode with an employee’s time clock number for use with MEGTEC’s optical barcode scanner. “The barcode predates me,” said Campbell. “Someone decided that barcoding was the way to go with 180 hourly shop employees. Today, all office employees have their cards barcoded, as well, in case we ever decide to use the technology for inventory control or other accounting purposes. Someone was thinking ahead. If we want, we can jump right in and use the barcode for additional purposes.

HID Fargo ID cards

The Fargo ID cards are durable enough to last much longer than the required two years,” said Campbell. “We don’t have to worry about someone’s signature smearing.” The card also lists the expiration date with a scanned signature. It meets OSHA requirements, has an employee’s photo, is durable and is easy to produce.

Today, the company’s security has become more sophisticated, with 12 access control points and eight access levels:

  • The master level enables employees to go anywhere on the property. It is used for maintenance workers, first aid providers and key managers.
  • An R&D level permits employee to be inside the research and development areas.
  • Employees can receive office access that gives them access to areas except R&D.
  • The shop crew leaders have access that permits them into areas to talk to others about plans and documents.
  • Shop employees have access to the manufacturing area through an employee entrance.
  • There are three vendor access levels: one for suppliers, one for those who restock manufacturing shelves and one to allow visitors into the outside gate only.

In addition to general security, MEGTEC uses ID cards without technology to identify employees who have been certified forklift operators. This certification is needed every three years, including operator training and evaluation.

As far as access goes, I think I’m there,” said Campbell, admitting he didn’t have a wish list for future upgrades. “It’s vital that we limit the number of people who come in here, and the Fargo printer has enabled us to do that.

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Questioning the wisdom of the U.S. ban on Hikvision & Dahua
Questioning the wisdom of the U.S. ban on Hikvision & Dahua

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And, yes, they have made technologies available at lower prices.Cybersecurity issues have plagued several companies in the industry, not just Hikvision and Dahua Cybersecurity issues have plagued several companies in the industry, not just these two, and both Hikvision and Dahua have worked to fix past problems, and to raise awareness of cybersecurity concerns in general. Is a U.S. ban on two companies an appropriate response to a series of geo-political concerns that are much bigger than those two companies (and bigger than our entire market)? Should two companies take the brunt of the anti-Chinese backlash? Video surveillance cameras Is the video surveillance market as a whole better or worse for the presence of Hikvision and Dahua? Is it up to the U.S. government to make that call? In some ways, thoughts of Chinese espionage are a sign of these uncertain political times. Fear of video surveillance is perfectly congruent with long-standing anxieties about “Big Brother;” suspicion about China taking over our video cameras just rings true at a time when Russia is (supposedly) controlling our elections. But should two companies be targeted while broader concerns are shrugged off?

8 tips for visiting a large security trade show
8 tips for visiting a large security trade show

Security trade fairs can be daunting for attendees. At big shows like IFSEC International and Security Essen, there can be hundreds of physical security manufacturers and dealers vying for your attention. Stands are sometimes spread out across multiple halls, often accompanied by a baffling floor plan. As the scope of physical security expands from video surveillance and access control to include smart building integrations, cyber security and the Internet of Things (IoT), there is an increasing amount of information to take in from education sessions and panels. Here, SourceSecurity.com presents eight hints and tips for visitors to make the most out of trade shows: 1. Outline your objectives. As the famous saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail!” Before you plan anything else, ensure you know what you need to achieve at the show. By clearly noting your objectives, you will be able to divide your time at the show appropriately, and carefully choose who you speak to. 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How artificial intelligence (AI) is changing video surveillance today
How artificial intelligence (AI) is changing video surveillance today

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Security operators scan hours of video from one camera at a time in the hope that they’ll find the critical event they need to investigate further Now, consider how much information a security operator who watches tens, if not hundreds or thousands of surveillance cameras, is presented with daily. After just twenty minutes, their attention span significantly decreases, meaning most of that video is never watched and critical information may go undetected. By taking over the task of "watching" security video, AI technology can help focus operators’ attention on events that may need further investigation. As AI technology evolves, the rich metadata captured in surveillance video will add even more relevance to what operators are seeing For instance, technology like Avigilon™ Unusual Motion (UMD) uses AI to continuously learn what typical activity in a scene looks like and then detect and flag unusual events, adding a new level of automation to surveillance. This helps save time during an investigation by allowing operators to quickly search through large amounts of recorded video faster, automatically focusing their attention on the atypical events that may need further investigation, enabling them to more effectively answer the critical questions of who, what, where and when. As AI technology evolves, the rich metadata captured in surveillance video – like clothing colour, age or gender – will add even more relevance to what operators are seeing. This means that in addition to detecting unusual activities based on motion, this technology has the potential to guide operators’ attention to other “unusual” data that will help them more accurately verify and respond to a security event. The key to advanced security When integrated throughout a security system, AI technology has the potential to dramatically change security operations There’s no denying it, the role of AI in security today is transformative. AI-powered video management software is helping to reduce the amount of time spent on surveillance, making security operators more efficient and effective at their jobs. By removing the need to constantly watch video screens and automating the “detection” function of surveillance, AI technology allows operators to focus on what they do best: verifying and acting on critical events. This not only expedites forensic investigations but enables real-time event response, as well. When integrated throughout a security system, AI technology has the potential to dramatically change security operations. Just as high-definition imaging has become a quintessential feature of today’s surveillance cameras, the tremendous value of AI technology has positioned it as a core component of security systems today, and in the future.