top view of construction site with worker
top view of construction site with worker

Preventing equipment and tool theft on job sites

Construction companies and contractors know that heavy equipment and tools can be easy to steal, easy to sell, and can have a low recovery rate. In fact, estimates put the cost of construction theft at up to $1 billion Canada-wide as of 2021.

The cost of heavy equipment and tools can add up. But replacing stolen equipment is not the only consequence of theft. The loss of specific or unique equipment can delay project completion leading to increased costs and late penalties. Additionally, you, the contractor, may be held liable if the stolen equipment causes damages to property.

How can I prevent theft on a job site?

Not all theft is preventable, but contractors can make it more difficult for thieves to steal their tools and equipment. Here are a few precautions contractors can take to safeguard their equipment:

  • Make sure work sites are well lit and tools and equipment are locked up. A poorly lit job site is appealing to thieves who don’t want to be noticed.
  • At the end of a workday, disconnect batteries and ignition fuses and keep them in a secured location.
  • Track vehicles and equipment with a GPS device or RFID (radio frequency identification technology).

Use recordkeeping to track your inventory

What does recordkeeping look like for a contractor? Recordkeeping means having a current inventory and detailed record of all equipment and tools used on project sites.

Why is recordkeeping worth doing? It’s a way to manage and track inventory, and helpful when there are multiple job sites using shared resources. It also shows contractors what equipment they need to purchase or replace.

What should I keep records of?

Whether you keep a binder or use software to do your record keeping, it’s important to record key details about your equipment. Here’s a list of what information you may want to include in your records:

  • Serial numbers & product identification
  • Make & model
  • Description
  • Year built
  • Invoice details, such as date purchase and value/cost
  • Markings, logos, and location of any details that help with identification
  • Service dates
  • Photos

If any equipment or tools are stolen, contractors can refer to their records to help assist in the recovery of their stolen equipment because they’ll have serial numbers and other details to help identify their property.

How do I recover stolen equipment or tools?

Contractors may want to consider registering their equipment and reporting theft information to Crime Stoppers, the manufacturer of the equipment, as well as the police.

When you report equipment theft to the police, they keep a record of it in their system. If another contractor decides to purchase your equipment and does a background check, they will see that it has been reported stolen.

If stolen equipment is brought into a dealer for repairs or parts, and a manufacturer has your equipment in their stolen equipment database, your equipment may be recovered.

Record keeping does more than help contractors manage inventory

By protecting and managing your equipment, you’ll potentially avoid the cost of replacement and costly project delays. And while recordkeeping won’t stop equipment theft, it will help you keep track of your inventory and make reporting thefts easier should you need to. Insurance can also help ease your mind. Visit our construction & contractors insurance page to learn more about how we can help.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.

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