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Keyholder responsibilities explained

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Your business might have employees who require regular access to the premises, sometimes outside normal business hours. This requires a degree of control of keys given to such employees. In addition, many businesses have an alarm system to detect intruders while the premises are closed. It is therefore necessary for one or more trusted employees to take on the responsibility of unlocking, locking and setting the alarm on a daily basis.

A key-holder’s responsibilities

Key-holder employees are responsible for opening and closing a business premises on a daily basis.

Depending on the hours your business operates, you might require more than one key holder. One in attendance when the business opens, and another one attending when the business is closing. The process of unlocking and locking will involve the various entrances that customers and service providers pass through. It will also include managing the alarm system that protects the business premises.

In cases where businesses handle cash, a key holder might be responsible for safely storing and arranging for the safe transport of daily takings. Key-holders tend to be senior employees in the company, so their role is likely to be in conjunction with other daily tasks that might include managing staff or being in charge of customer services.

The role of a key-holder in an emergency

In addition to locking up daily, your key-holder will be responsible for attending the business premises when an intrusion is detected. Most premises have alarm systems that alert them, management and security services when an entry point is opened outside business hours. It is imperative to establish procedures for them to follow when they attend to an intrusion alarm.

Key-holders should always advise others when they visit the premises to check on an alarm, and they should ideally be joined by a second key-holder. It is crucial to take a strong flashlight along to light up dark areas on the premises, and a mobile phone is essential in case the police or emergency services need to be called. If a site is discovered to be insecure and there is any suspicion that criminals might be inside, they should not enter under any circumstances. Instead, they should call the police for support.

Good candidates for key-holder responsibilities

Employees given the responsibilities associated with the role are in a position of trust. Typically, it will be an employee who has been with the company for a long period, already taking on some degree of responsibility in a financial or managerial role. You need to appoint a person who can be trusted to respond to emergencies and always arrive at work on time.

A crucial requirement for these employees is that they live within a short distance of the workplace. Depending on how your employees usually commute to the office, this needs to be someone who has easy access to public transport to your business premises.

However, keep in mind that they sometimes have to attend work at odd hours and that public transport may not be available, so your key-holder should also be able to drive or be driven to the premises.

The ability to assess risks is another important qualifying factor because, in the role, the person needs to spot and report any potential security issues. These employees need a safe space at home to store keys, and you might want to consider appointing several people to this role in case your key-holder is unavailable due to illness.

Outsourcing key-holder duties

Many businesses opt to remove key-holding away from staff and pay a company to assist them. This is often a good solution if owners and management staff resist attending the business premises outside of hours and if staff turnover is high, making it difficult to assign positions of responsibility to any individual person. Even if you have a staff member responsible for the role, you could hire a company to help with out-of-hours emergencies.

Professional, accredited companies are trained to deal with alarms going off outside office hours. Without appropriate training, staff members might put themselves at risk when there is a real alarm.

Key-holder services inspect the premises and liaise with emergency services if it is deemed necessary. The company will also arrange for any door repairs and fixes in the case of a break-in.

Making sure key-holders are fully informed

When you appoint a staff member to the role, you need to thoroughly train them in all aspects of securing your business premises. Keep a record of all the keys in use and regularly check that the correct people are still holding them. Alarms are important tools for preventing intrusions outside of business hours, so ensure you have thoroughly trained your key-holder to correctly activate them upon close of business.

Key-holders should have some means of staying in touch with other employees, so you might want to supply a dedicated mobile phone to alert others when needed at the business premises. Staff who rotate the duties can pass these dedicated devices to their colleagues when they take on the role.

Key-holding is a leadership position

The staff members you appoint to the role are placed in a position of responsibility and must show leadership skills. You have to make sure you appoint responsible individuals.

Your employees must express a sense of confidence and respect for their fellow employees. Businesses have valuable goods and equipment on-site, and your key-holder is ultimately responsible for keeping those assets safe around the clock.

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