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Reviewing Your Visitor Control Procedures


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Does your company have a procedure to "sign-in" visitors who come to your facility?

Most companies do. Unfortunately, the visitor control procedures used by many companies have evolved over a period of years and are sometimes inconsistent and ineffective.

It is recommended that the manager responsible for security periodically review the procedures its company uses to sign-in and control visitors. Here are a few things to be reviewed:

  • Just who at your company can authorize a visitor to be on the premises? Can any employee sponsor a visitor, or must the visitor be sponsored by a supervisor or manager?

  • During what hours can a visitor be brought on the premises? Is it OK for an employee to bring a visitor into the facility after-hours or on the weekends?

  • Must visitors be escorted at all times by an employee? Which types of visitors are to be allowed unescorted access?

  • Are there areas in the facility where visitors are not allowed? If so, where are these areas?

  • Do visitors need to be issued safety equipment or to receive any special type of safety training?

  • Are there any age restrictions on visitors? Can an employee bring his or her children into the facility as visitors?

  • Are packages carried by visitors, including briefcases and purses, subject to inspection as the visitor leaves the premises?


Here are some suggestions for effective visitor control procedures:

  • A complete set of written visitor procedures should be prepared and distributed to all employees. These procedures can be included in an overall employee "security handbook" or distributed separately.

  • All visitors to the facility should be required to sign-in when they come to the facility, and sign-out when they leave. For best security, the receptionist or security officer, not the visitor, should enter information into the visitor log.

  • The visitor log should include the following information at a minimum: date, time visitor arrived/departed, visitor name, visitor company affiliation, name of company sponsor, and sponsor's telephone number.

  • You may wish to consider the use of a computer-based visitor logging system instead of the traditional manual visitor log book. These systems allow visitors to be registered on a computer, and a visitor badge to be automatically printed. (For more information, see related article: Introduction to Electronic Visitor Management Systems)

  • All visitors should be issued a visitor badge. Visitor badge should include date, visitor name, and name of company sponsor. You may wish to consider the use of a "self-expiring" type of visitor badge. These badges automatically expire after a certain number of hours, preventing the badge from being reused on another day.

  • Non-escorted visitors should be issued a different type of identification badge than regular escorted visitors. Frequent visitors to the facility, such as janitors and service people, should be issued a permanent vendor identification badge. If your company uses photo identification badges for employees, a similar type of photo identification badge should be produced for permanent vendors.

  • All visitors should be required to sign-out. At the end of each shift, the security officer or receptionist should run a tally of the visitor log to determine which visitors, if any, are still in the building. (The computer-based visitor logging system described above allows this report to be produced in a matter of seconds.)

  • Visitors who have failed to sign-out should be identified. The employee who sponsored the visitor should be contacted and reminded that they are responsible for assuring that visitors follow the proper procedures

If you have questions, or need help in developing visitor control procedures for your facility, please contact us.

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