Maintaining effective site access systems during COVID-19

3 minutes

At Biosite, we partner with our customers in construction to provide tailored solutions that optimise safety, efficiency and compliance on site.

One of our strengths is effective workforce management via Access Control systems. These types of systems have come under some scrutiny over the past few weeks, along with many other systems, surfaces and equipment that until recently innocuously made up the scenery of many sites.

Now, along with many other aspects of our daily lives, they are temporarily being re-evaluated, as the construction industry responds to how we can best reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) on site.

We have been inspired by our customers and feel proud to work in partnership with you as you determine the best solutions for your business and sites, as we have also done at our Biosite locations, for the benefit of keeping our employees safe.

Our shared goal is to protect employees and operatives on site and to support efforts to keep sites running when it is safe to do so. On this basis, I want to reassure you that, as ever, we are here to work collaboratively, to help you respond to this unprecedented situation and find the best solutions that work for you.

We want to help you avoid a situation where prioritising hygiene best practice compromises other health and safety practices on site and strike a balance where all risks on site are mitigated. Ultimately, we believe that it is important that some form of effective access system is maintained on site.

In addition to the usual health and safety and compliance functions, an effective access control system can help the site management team to monitor operative numbers and ensure there is enough capacity so that social distancing recommendations can be achieved. In the unfortunate event of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 on site, the system is also able to produce an accurate historical record of attendance for contact tracing and infection control purposes. In addition, an access system can enable the management team to respond quickly and effectively to other non-COVID related incidents. If you need to evacuate site, the system can prepare an automatic roll call when time is of the essence, on site itself and for the emergency services. These types of incidents will not stop in respect of COVID-19 and we still need to be prepared to respond to them.

To that end, we believe it is entirely possible to maintain an effective access control system on site – whether it is biometric, card-based or another non-contact alternative – to provide these essential safeguarding measures, whilst maintaining recommended hygiene best practice to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Any means of access system has pros and cons that need to be carefully considered for its benefits and restrictions. For example, many forms of perceived ‘non-contact’ solutions require close contact with an access control device or secondary authentication method (such as inputting a code on a keypad) and can result in an extended throughput time per operative, which poses its own hygiene and social distancing implications. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet.

In terms of the latest industry guidance* on safe site practices, it is recommended that entry systems that require skin contact, such as fingerprint scanners, should be cleaned between each individual use. I can reassure you that Biosite hardware products (including fingerprint scanners, turnstiles, Time & Attendance boards, touchscreen device, etc.) are weatherproof and waterproof and can be cleaned using standard cleaning products with a soft cloth**.

If you decide that cleaning biometric entry systems between each use is not practical, our team has the expertise and experience to advise on and provide alternative systems that can meet your needs, without compromising on the benefits of having an effective access system in place.

As we are now part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, we are in a unique position to bring the most innovative global access technology to the UK construction industry and we are currently building a portfolio of COVID-19 response solutions for our customers. This includes an enhanced card access system, as well as upcoming facial recognition and thermal imaging technology, contact tracing and location monitoring and portable hygiene solutions for areas where wash stations are not available. This is alongside our SIA-approved Security division that deploys social distancing welfare attendants, guarding solutions and 24/7 CCTV to keep sites safe and secure.

In these unprecedented times, our adaptability means we can tailor a site safety and support solution that meets the specific needs of every site, as well as adhering to your company guidelines.

To reiterate, our access systems advice is to:

  • Maintain an effective access system on site to support compliance with other standard health and safety practices
  • Work in partnership with us to find a suitable means of access system – we can help you find an appropriate system that meets your company guidelines without compromising health and safety measures on site beyond hygiene best practice
  • Contact us to discuss any concerns or challenges you are facing – call us on 0121 374 2939 or email or for support

As always, we are in this together and together we will find the best solution to achieve our shared goal of keeping operatives, staff and sites safe in the battle against COVID-19.


Dr Li Wang,

Managing Director, Biosite Systems



*Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures guidance (version 3)

**We do not recommend the use of abrasive cleaning products on hardware systems, particularly on biometric devices, as this could lead to damage over time