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Visitor pass changes colour overnight

An international manufacturing company has found the solution to on-site visitor security in a new badge that changes colour when it expires.



May 25, 2010
By Linda Johnson

In November, Surrey, B.C.-based BM&M Screening Solutions introduced
the new visitor passes, which have a chemical that causes a section of
the one-piece pass to turn colour — so 24 hours after a badge is
issued, the word VOID appears against a light red background.

“It works fine for us because anybody coming on board, if they tried to
re-enter the premises with an old badge, we’d know,” says Maureen
Goosen, executive assistant, sales and marketing. The passes, called
Visitor Pass Solutions, are a product of Data Management Inc. of
Farmington, Conn.

With the new system, a person arriving at reception is asked to sign in
by filling out a blank sticker badge — providing their name, company,
the date and whom they’re visiting. The receptionist peels off the
sticker and, before giving it to the visitor, takes hold of a small tab
on the side and folds it under.

“That way we make sure the two parts have touched, and then the
chemical reaction will take place over the 24 hours. That’s all they
need to do. So visitors don’t really even see the tab. They just see
their name badge,” says Goosen.

As a person signs in, what they write is automatically copied into a
log below, providing BM&M with a permanent visitor record. The
confidential registry book is also used to record the time each visitor
arrived and left.

“We’re very pleased with it,” says Goosen. “It’s a good, compact
system, very simple to use. Anybody in our facility can sign someone
in. You could say it’s a universal system.”

The company has six to 10 visitors a day — mostly potential clients who
are there to test their product, suppliers coming in to see the
purchaser, and corporate parties. All must sign in and wear a badge.
Shippers and carriers go to the shipping department and are identified
there.


Until last year, BM&M relied on a sign-in book at
reception, but when the company moved to a much larger, two-storey
production facility, they realized they had to have something more
sophisticated to keep track of visitors, Goosen says.

“We used to be able, because there were many eyes, to see who was
coming onto our property. But when we expanded, we needed to have it so
that anybody at a glance could take a look at a person who’s on our
property. If they’re not one of us, then we’re able to say, ”˜OK, you
should have that identifiable visitor badge.’ ”

The company also needed a stricter pass and record system because,
Goosen says, it ships goods internationally and participates in
security initiatives with the border. “So this is part of the
initiative as well, that we have a well identifiable way of tracking
people coming onto our site.”

And the new system will likely prove useful in an emergency, Goosen
adds. If their building had to be evacuated, the receptionist’s first
responsibility is to check the log to see if every visitor has recorded
a time-out. If not, the receptionist must investigate to see whether
the person is still on site or left with the pass. “So, from a safety
point of view as well, it is quite valuable,” she says.

The visitor passes come in three types, varying in cost and print
visibility. A company can choose a hand-written or computerized system
and can have the passes printed in any language.

While most clients want the passes to display information such as the
visitor’s company and name of the employee they’re visiting, says
Suzanne Corcoran, product director for Data Management, some want the
passes to contain much more. In addition to a logo, colours or tagline,
the passes may include bar-coding, consecutive numbering and even the
licence plate number of the car the visitor drove onto the lot.

Some companies want the person to sign a visitor agreement, Corcoran
adds, something that would limit the company’s liability or a
confidentiality statement. “We have badges that contain that language
and that the visitor actually signs right there — that they have read
this and that they agree to the polices — and then they get their badge
at the same time.

The expiring passes are particularly popular with organizations that
see a high number of visitors, Corcoran says, such as hospitals,
government departments and schools. ¥

Linda Johnson is an intern with Canadian Security.