Do you know who has access to maintenance department equipment? It might seem fine to let Joe from ACME Electric use your conduit bender. After all, your company has a long and beneficial relationship with ACME.

But what if another contractor assumes your company has an open use policy? Carl’s never seen a conduit bender before and thinks it’s perfect for bending pieces of rebar. Joe’s been running EMT and the bender is set up for this thin tubing. Carl bends a length of rebar and walks off. Joe comes by a few minutes later to bend a stick of EMT and is injured when the cracked shoe shatters.

To prevent misuse, damage, and even theft, establish a control system for all equipment other than personal tools. For portable items, the traditional tool crib is a good solution. If you can’t afford a full-time attendant, consider using a self-checkout system.

You can automate self-checkout with bar codes. Use this same system for non-portable items or for the keys to those items (e.g., padlock on that bender). Use it to cure "lost ladder syndrome."