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Security works: time sensitive.

The New York City headquarters of Marsh & McLennan Companies, the world's largest insurance broker, receives approximately 10,000 visitors per month. A reliable badging system is imperative to ensure security in such an open environment. For the past three years the company has been using the time-sensitive, self-expiring badges from TEMTEC, Inc., of Suffern, New York.

According Rolf Klotz, CPP, Marsh & McLennan's manager of security, the company used to have a problem with people walking around with expired badges. "We deal with a very high professional caliber of person, and they are not here to do us harm," he explains. "They just don't want to wait in the morning to get cleared and get the pass issued, so they would play games with us." The games included altering the date stamps on the badges that security previously used. The TEMTEC badge makes that impossible, says Klotz. "The thing is going to expire after eight hours, and that's it."

The time indicator badges work by changing color - from white to red - after a specific time period passes. TEMTEC makes badges that expire in a matter of hours, days, weeks, or in one month. Klotz uses these badges to identify one-day visitors.

The badges come in two parts. The BackPart is printed with a special migrating ink, and the FrontPart is the white, self-adhesive label. When a badge is issued, the FrontPart is placed over the BackPart and the timing begins. After the specific time period passes, the ink on the BackPart, which is used to spell out "Expired" or Void," migrates through the FrontPart making it useless. Klotz says that he has never had a problem with the ink migrating too soon, too late, or not at all. The badges remain unchanged until the two parts are put together, so they last for years.

At Marsh & McLennan, badging is a quick process. When a visitor arrives, the security officer or the concierge at the front desk calls the person who is being visited to verify the visitor's identification. If everything checks out, the badge is issued. People who work in the building can also notify the front desk of an expected visitor ahead of time by phone or in writing so that the badge will be waiting when the visitor arrives. According to Klotz, security does not have to go chasing after people with expired badges; most people leave on their own when their badge expires. "This just makes it so much easier for the security staff to observe, in one view, whether or not something is out of date," he says.

Klotz had used the badging system at previous jobs and says that it has been refined over the past ten years. "It used to be much more light dependent," he recalls. "If you walked out in the sunlight for a few minutes, it would go bad." The badges have become more dependable.

Klotz says the product is easy to use, but relatively expensive. The badges cost approximately twenty cents each, as compared with regular adhesive labels that cost less than six cents apiece. "But," Klotz says, "we feel that the level of protection that it gives us and the ease of application is well worth it."
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Addis, Karen; Arbetter, Lisa; Murphy, Joan
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Security works: better red than stolen.
Next Article:Managing.

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