What’s Video Surveillance Doing In The Workplace?

As a worker in an assembly line, you are wondering what those video surveillance cameras on the walls are doing. Are they really watching you? What for?

High Tech Surveillance Goes To Work

Remember the Holocaust? Jewish prisoners toiled under heavy guard of the Gestapo. They were kicked or shot to death on the spot if they didn’t perform well. The Gestapo was worse than the present day video surveillance. But that scenario is long past gone and buried in the memories of the survivors. Life goes on.

In the manufacturing assembly line, you watch thousands of cans rolling along.There are no guards to poke you in the ribs when you blink. You stifle a yawn and eye the rolling cans on the conveyor, to spot defects in shape because of two things:

1. you love your job since it puts food on the table.
2. and there’s those bugs watching.

When the whistle blows for a break things screech to a halt and you rush for your mug of steaming coffee. At the cafeteria, there’s those surveillance cameras again, silently watching.

This is an everyday scene all over the country. Spy cameras are watching, ready to pounce on a fault and a misdemeanor in the workplace. Video surveillance in the workplace is, according to annoyed workers, an unwelcome intrusion. Workers complain that this violates their privacy. Employers counter that this is protection for the business and for the workers.

How video surveillance helps business and workers

In large factories dealing with hazardous gasses, workers can view production without being exposed to poisonous or toxic elements. At the control room, a designated watcher can immediately call the workers’ attention to any problem in the production room.

In the office, surveillance can help employers identify embezzlers and idlers on the tapes and present the recordings as evidence when litigation is necessary. One employer demands the religious review of the tapes before workers come in, to check the presence of improvised explosive devices and suspicious activities that may endanger a life.

This provides the cost-saving advantage of employing less security people. Two persons managing the monitors can alert posted guards if there are any problems. And whatever is shown from CCTV surveillance cannot be viewed by other factories because these are not broadcast. Each of the video surveillance cameras has a radio signal that is linked to the recording and viewing equipment.

Security has its price

Workers are learning to cope with the intrusion of video surveillance. As long as this does not interfere with their work or their privacy, security will always come first.

However, video surveillance put in the wrong hands and used for wrong purposes can upset the balance between privacy and security. This can be compared to the sinister watching of the Gestapo at Birkenau camp.

But the advantages of electronic or digital surveillance outweighs the minor inconveniences experienced in the workplace. So apart from checking on you, video surveillance is watching you to help you, just in case.

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