The moment your visitors step foot inside your office, their safety, security, and privacy become your responsibility.
In this day and age of VoIP and virtual video conferencing, you would think that face-to-face business meetings are no longer relevant. However, as you will see in this guide, face-to-face meetings are here to stay. As visitors to your office come and go, there are risks — no matter how small — as they come, go and while they’re situated in your office. It is your responsibility to comply with safety, security, health and data privacy laws to protect your visitors and employees from possible injuries and other risks.
As more people enter and exit your office every day, your responsibility to maintain a high level of workplace safety, security and data privacy is vital. And while most visitors to your office are there with good intent, some have more nefarious intentions.
If you’re using a paper visitors’ book, you are collecting personal data. Therefore, your paper visitors’ book should be GDPR-compliant.
Paper logbooks cannot be encrypted nor can they be password protected. Also, a paper visitors’ book can be misplaced or stolen.
The GDPR stipulates: “The data subject shall have the right to withdraw his or her consent at any time.” It is almost logistically impossible to comply with this GDPR requirement with a paper visitors’ book. Tearing a page from the logbook or erasing their personal data entry won’t cut it.
By sticking to a paper visitors’ book, your visitors’ personal data will always be vulnerable to safety and security threats. Plus, you’re always at risk of being penalised for violating several data privacy laws.
At this point, you might be thinking: “Well, a visitor management system is a nice-to-have, but my paper visitors’ book does the job.” However, that is no longer the case.
Your paper visitors’ book could be the simplest method to track who is coming in and out of the office, but it does not meet the highest safety, security and data privacy standards. In fact, you could be violating certain laws and regulations, in persisting with a paper-based visitors’ book.
Let’s look at some other applicable laws and regulations in five countries that affect how you implement your visitor management systems.
There are many different visitor management-related laws in the US that some organisations are required to comply with, depending on the industry that they operate in, such as the C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism).
A modern digital visitor management system will go a long way in supporting organizations compliance efforts for these regulations by:
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety requires all offices to do “Due Diligence.” This includes having written health and safety policies in place. According to the law: “Employers must also ensure that all people who are at the workplace are included, such as contractors, visitors, students/interns and volunteers.”
The recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the law that most impacts visitor management in the UK. At first, there was a misconception that the GDPR only applies to data collected online, but it applies to all personal data, including visitors’ information that is collected from offices and other workplaces.
Aside from the GDPR, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 legally obliges businesses to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of people who are not in its employment but could be affected by its business activities. This involves making visitors aware of the risks that they may be exposed to while they are in a workplace and giving guidelines on what they can do to ensure their safety and security.
The Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011 outlines the legal responsibilities of business owners to implement health and safety practices in their workplaces. If you conduct business down under, it is imperative that you ensure the health and safety of your employees, contractors, volunteers, visitors, customers or the public.
In 2013, the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety revealed that New Zealand’s workplace health and safety systems were failing compared to other countries such as the UK and Australia. In response, the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 was created. It was implemented in 2016. According to WorkSafe New Zealand: “A guiding principle of HSWA is that workers and others need to be given the highest level of protection from workplace health and safety risks, as is reasonable.”
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