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isrg logo vds certification logo essa certification logo a2p certification logo

Call Us: + 353 (01) 7076011

isrg logo vds certification logo essa certification logo a2p certification logo

Call Us: + 353 (01) 7076011

  • About Us
  • Contact Us
  • Guide To European Certification
  • Insurance Rates (ISRG)
  • Help For Insurers
  • Advice Videos
  • Lock Videos
  • Testimonials
  • Blog

Bank And Credit Union Security

Accredited European standards are essential for long-term bank and credit union security

Certified Safes Ireland™ provide European certified safes, strongrooms, data rooms, time locks and audit systems for the protection of cash and sensitive data to the banking and Credit Union sector Nationwide. Accredited European certification is verifiable assurance that a safe, strongroom, data cabinet or data room has been tested by an ISO/IEC 17064 European accredited testing laboratory and that the results of testing have been certified by an independent ISO/IEC 17065 accredited European certification body to the relevant standard and grade. This is essential proof of standard under European law for insurance, GDPR and litigation purposes that any Bank or Credit Union simply cannot afford to be without. 

Certified Safes Ireland™ are qualified secure storage specification and certification specialists. Our advice is trusted at the highest level of the insurance, commercial and government sectors.

 Our expertise has been relied on by:

The National Treasury Management Agency, N.A.T.O. Europe, The U.S. Air Force (Europe), PayPal (Worldwide), Grant Thornton, The Department Of Communications (NCSC Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Revenue Commissioners, Electricity Supply Board (Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Danish Defence Forces (Afghanistan), The Insurance Institute of Ireland, The Royal College Of Surgeons, BFC Bank, Interxion Data Centres, The Private Security Authority, Isle of Man Gold Bullion, Brown Thomas, Bvlgari, Boodles, Druids Glen, The Shelbourne Hotel, and many others ....

Our seminars on safes, strongrooms and HNW secure storage have been part of Continuing Professional Development for underwriters and insurers having been awarded CPD points by the Insurance Institute of Ireland and the Chartered Insurance Institute (UK).

Insurance Institute of Ireland Insurance Institute of London nato cage code

 

Accredited European Certification

european parliament logo

EU Parliament regulation 765/2008 created the system that provides the legal basis of accreditation for the burglary resistance certification of safes and cabinets to:

  • European standard EN1143-1, the burglary resistance certification for safes
  • European standard EN14450, the burglary resistance certification for cabinets
  • European standard EN15659 the protection of paper documents from fire
  • European standard EN1047-1 the protection of data from fire

These are the logos of the four certification bodies with accreditation to ISO IEC17065 to certify safes to European standards you will most likely encounter on a genuine certification plate in Ireland.

vds certification logo essa certification logo SBSC certification logo a2p certification logo

The ultimate protection against misrepresentation and a legal proof of standard of burglary and fire resistance, accredited European certification is the most important factor in maintaining insurance cover long term, as well as being the basis for all insurance rate recommendations in Europe. When there is a need to ensure regulatory compliance, for the storage of important legal documents or data, anything less than accredited European certification and the legal proof of standard it provides can leave an organisation or individual vulnerable. European accredited certification for safes and strongrooms is backed by regular auditing, market surveillance and is verifiable, proof of standard for both insurance and litigation purposes.

If you consider that 70% of safes tested for burglary resistance by accredited European testing labs fail on the first attempt the practical implications of accepting unaccredited claims of burglary or fire resistance are also obvious.

 

What Accredited Certification Looks Like

Burglary resistance certification for safes EN1143-1

A safe with properly accredited European certification of burglary resistance will display at least one stamped metal certification plate on the inside of the door. This will always be a stamped metal plate, never a sticker. An accredited certification plate for a safe will display the word "SAFE" and the standard EN1143-1, the logo of an accredited certification body (not the manufacturer), the burglary grade in Roman numerals, and most importantly, will often provide confirmation that the certification body is accredited to ISO/IEC 17065. This is legal assurance that the certifier is accredited under European law. The same information will be available on accredited certification documents which are freely available and should always be asked for.

Indication Of Safe Certification Plate

 Accredited fire resistance certification EN15659, EN1047-1

Fire resistance certification is always indicated completely separately to any burglary resistance certification plate that a safe or cabinet may have.
There is absolutely no connection between the grade of a safe and its fire resistance.

A safe or cabinet with properly accredited European certification of fire resistance will display at least one stamped metal fire resistance certification plate on the inside of the units door. This will always be a stamped metal plate, never a sticker. An accredited certification plate for a safe will display the words "Light Fire Storage Unit" and the standard EN15659 in cases where the unit is suitable for paper documents, or the words "Data Cabinet" and the standard EN1047-1 in cases where the unit is suitable for both paper documents and data. A fire resistance certification plate will also display the logo of an accredited certification body (not the manufacturer) and most importantly, will often provide confirmation that the certification body is accredited to ISO/IEC 17065, a legal proof of standard under European law..

Fire Resistant Safe

 

Unaccredited Marks To Watch Out For

The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) (UK)

The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) (UK) is a mark commonly encountered in the Irish market. LPCB has issued "certification" plates for safes (European standard EN1143-1) and secure cabinets (European standard EN14450) for many years, despite the fact the body has never been an accredited certification body for the burglary resistance of safes, not even in the UK, according to the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). LPCB "certification" plates are in a similar format to properly accredited European certification, however, an ISO/IEC17065 accreditation which will be present on most accredited certification plates will be absent from an LPCB plate. The fact that LPCB claim to certify their own tests runs counter to any norms in Europe where both the tester and the certifier are legally required to be independent bodies. LPCB certification claims should not be confused with properly accredited European certification, which has a basis in European law as proof of standard, and on which all safe ratings in Europe are based.

Nordtest NT FIRE 017

The most common unaccreited mark you will come across in the Irish market is without doubt the NT FIRE 017 mark. NT FIRE 017 is a conformity assessment of Nordtest originally founded in 1973 under the Nordic Council of Ministers. This is NOT a European standard.

NT017 may be applied to safes and cabinets of identical construction to a tested unit, provided that the external volume of the untested units are not less than half of, and not more than twice the volume of the tested unit. This means in a series of five sizes it is usually only necessary that one unit is tested, leaving the majority of cabinets and safes marked NT017 in such a series not tested. Additionally internal heat during the NT017 test is measured by thermocouples (sensors used to measure temperature ) placed at the centre of internal panels rather than at the corners as is the case with European and US testing. This placement of thermocouples will of course produce a more favourable result as panels will heat from edges to the centre during a fire. Additionally, NT017 does not include a drop test to simulate structural collapse of the kind that would likely happen in an intense fire.

 

Upgrading Existing Safes And Strongrooms

Upgrading equipment to European standards of best practice

With a background in European standards for secure storage at an international level, Certified Safes Ireland™ are uniquely qualified to survey Credit Union or Bank secure storage equipment and help bring processes and security in line with European best practice. Surveys are free of charge, without obligation and entirely confidential. As technology moves ahead there are a wide range of upgrades that can be made to existing secure storage equipment that can greatly increase security and ease of administration across an evolving organisation.

Opening A Kaba Safe Lock

 

Alarm Monitoring & Integration Options

 Most safes and strongroom come prepared for alarm

Before we look at popular alarm integration options, we need to take a quick look at a common issue that can compromise security whatever type of alarm integration is being considered, and that is external wiring, an unacceptable security risk when monitoring a certified safe or strongroom. Most quality European certified safes and strongrooms come prepared for alarm integration wiring with mounting points for seismic sensors and factory made alarm cable channels or routes, as well as door loop mounts on the inside of the safe or strongroom, all accessible via factory installed ports, unfortunately, it is demonstrably evident that the majority of alarm installers and “safe technicians” do not know how to do this work correctly, as shown in the photos below:

Wiring should be invisible

This photo is of a Chubb Europa, a model of safe that comes prepared with an internal alarm cable route and seismic sensor mounting plates, yet despite this, a well-known safe technician drilled both the barrier material at the side of the safe and more worryingly the barrier material on the door of the safe close to the safe lock in order to run cabling to the safe lock. External wiring like this not only damages the barrier material of a safe, severely compromising security as well as the safe's certification for burglary resistance, but it advertises the presence of alarm integration and the possible presence of duress signalling to criminals. Being advised of this in advance, the probability criminals will employ tactics such as Tiger kidnapping for high value targets, rather than a straightforward burglary or raid, is a lot more likely.

Incorrect Wiring

Correct wiring (internal)

In the example shown below, a deposit safe for commercial use, we can clearly see there is never a need for an external door loop or any other indication that alarm signalling devices (seismic sensors, alarm modules) may be present. With such devices located inside the safe they are also protected from view, tampering and possible circumvention. 

Safe Alarm Cable

Duress (silent alarm)

Most certified digital locks can be monitored via an alarm system via a certified and compatible alarm module. With an alarm module in place if you or staff are put under any type of duress the addition of a digit to the normal access code for your safe or strongroom will trigger a silent panic alarm. This is a very powerful tool if you are in a position where you may be held-up.

Seismic sensors

In the context of a safe or strongroom, a seismic sensor is a small high security alarm signalling device that monitors vibration and temperature, specifically configured to detect prising attacks, drill attacks, cutting discs as well as hydraulic and thermal tools. When using seismic sensors on a safe or strongroom, it is important to understand that these devices should be configured by an alarm installer to always be on, even if the alarm is switched off. Seismic sensors will not be triggered by normal safe use. At Certified Safes Ireland™ we recommend the installation of two EN50131 compatible seismic sensors on safes as An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) alarm response guidelines require two verified intruder alarm sensor activations to trigger an alarm response. Having two sensors located inside a safe should therefore ensure you get response to an attempted burglary, even if the local alarm system is switched off.

Seismic sensor installation

A seismic sensor should always be mounted with screws (not glue) to a seismic sensor mounting plate of the type provided inside a quality EN1143-1 European certified safe or strongroom. Internal seismic sensor mounting plates are kept free of paint during the manufacturing process and usually have a circular mounting profile. These plates are specifically designed to conduct vibration to optimise the detection of rotary cutting tools. 

Below is a photo from our warehouse of a VdS certified seismic sensor (bottom) and duress module (top) installed inside a safe. Note the black circle free of paint behind the seismic sensor and that both components are certified by accredited certification body VdS.

Seismic Sensor

 

Electronic Locks, Alarm Integration And Monitoring

 A digital lock is the starting point for all electronic integration

The starting point for EN50131 compliant alarm integration of a certified safe is of course a certified digital lock. Most certified digital safe locks from class "B" upwards come with a range of basic features which will include alarm module compatibility. Listed below are a range of features, some found as standard in a digital lock and some optional extras that can be achieved with various lock and alarm integration combinations. All options listed are certified compliant with the EN1300 safe lock standard and the EN50131 alarm standard.

 

Penalty Lockout (Standard Feature)

The penalty lockout feature on a certified digital lock shuts the lock down for ten minutes if four or more incorrect codes are entered in a row making manipulation and random code entry attempts virtually impossible. This is a standard feature with all certified digital safe locks which has no equivalent with any mechanical lock type.

Multi-user Codes (Standard Feature)

Most certified digital safe locks have multi-user codes which means no two people have to use the same code to access a safe. In a commercial setting this means an individual code can be removed at will by management. No need to worry that keys may have been copied etc....

Dual Codes (Standard Feature)

Most certified safe locks will allow or have a version that allows for dual code operation, which means two codes have to be entered to open the lock. Ideal in situations where dual person operation is preferred.

Duress Silent Alarm (Extra Module Required)

Many certified digital locks can be added to your alarm system via an Alarm Module. With an Alarm module in place if a hold-up occurs addition of a digit to the normal access code will trigger a silent alarm.

Time Delay Option (Standard Feature Class B,C,D)

A programmable time delay of 1 to 99 minutes is another standard option in all but the most basic electronic lock models with a time delay opening window that can be set from 1 to 15 minutes. This is a powerful anti hold-up measure.

Time Lock (Keypad Type)

Time Lock gives you all the benefits of a bank level high security time lock system with built in audit. You can control when your safe can be accessed, by whom and download access logs from the lock telling you who opened the safe, when, and how long the safe door and lock was open. Up to 30 holidays can be programmed that override the normal schedule. Automatically adjusts for daylight saving time. We can even program a time lock schedule that restricts specific people’s access.

Audit Trail (incorporated into most time locks)

A powerful feature of many digital locks is an audit trail which can be easily downloaded to a USB drive once you have the correct download code. This tells you who opened the lock, for how long, time, date and if there were any attempts to open the lock with an incorrect code. The standard audit trail is 1000 events. An audit trail can also be downloaded remotely directly from a compatible alarm system using an alarm module bolt position interface.

Seismic Sensor (Extra Module Required)

As a properly anchored safe is secured to at least 5 tons, and a certified digital safe lock cannot be manipulated open, power tool attack or a prising attack is the only option left for a professional burglar. A Seismic Sensor will detect prising, cutting, drilling and heat attacks, but is not triggered by normal everyday use of the safe. What is particularly convenient about a seismic sensor is it is tamper proof and works 24/7 even when an alarm system is switched off.

One Time Code (requires special lock type and set-up)

Easily retro fitted onto most existing safes or strongrooms, a One Time Code system (OTC) means that opening and closing is controlled by single use codes generated by a certified monitoring station after the identity of the person requiring access has been verified. The person accessing the safe or strongroom also requires their own personal code and a special key fob that records the opening and closing state of the lock. Time and date specific one-time codes can be issued in advance by the monitoring station for use within a 15-minute window, weeks, or months in advance.

 

Delivery

Professional commercial delivery

Certified Safes Ireland™ personnel are fully insured and trained experts in the delivery, installation, removal and transportation of safes and strongrooms. Delivery and positioning to any floor using specialist equipment is usually possible. All sites are surveyed prior to quotation. A Risk Assessment Method Statement (RAMS) is available for all sites on request. Certified Safes Ireland™ and our contractors have specific insurance for the delivery and installation of safes and strongrooms. A copy of this is insurance is also available on request.

Safes Being Delivered

 

Professional Installation

50kN Minimum anchoring for all safes

Certification is often void for a safe not anchored correctly and there are many examples most insurers will be familiar with of a “safe” being removed from a premises because it was not anchored correctly if at all. It is a certification requirement under EN1143-1 that a safe is anchored however the EN1143-1 standard does not yet specify how this is to be achieved which often results in bare minimum, highly unsafe installations. Certified Safes Ireland™ have always used anchoring methods designed to replicate standards used in EN1143-1 accredited laboratory testing as the best guide to making the unauthorised physical removal of our safes virtually impossible. This is done in a manner designed to achieve at least a holding force of 50kN (5.089 tons) for a safe up to grade III and 100kN (11.24 tons) over that grade. Holding forces that as you can imagine, rule out removing a safe without truly industrial levels of force.

Industrial Safe Installation

 

Asbestos In Pre-2000 Safes & Cabinets

Certified Safes Ireland™ investigation & HSA Legislation & Enforcement Notice

A Certified Safes Ireland™ investigation in 2019 led to a Legislation & Enforcement Notice from the Health and Safety Authority making it clear than any safe, document or cabinet manufactured before 2000 must be presumed to contain asbestos. Apart from being a severe cancer risk to both staff and management, asbestos is no longer covered by insurance leaving any business, including a Credit Union directly liable for asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Chrysotile Asbestos

Chrysotile asbestos fibres, which in the case of safe and cabinet manufacturing are the main type of asbestos fibres we are concerned with, are highly carcinogenic if inhaled. Breathing in air containing even tiny amounts of asbestos fibres of the kind that may result from the opening and closing of a safe or filing cabinet door fitted with asbestos door seals, can lead to asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis and cancers of the lungs and chest lining. Chrysotile asbestos was widely used in door seals on safes, fireproof safes, and fireproof filing cabinets as late as 1995. This invariably took the form of woven asbestos tape adhered around the door frame against which the door would close. It is this woven tape that causes many to be most concerned. Abrasion caused by the opening and shutting of the safe door or filing cabinet door in such close proximity to the user is a high-risk issue, particularly as someone could be opening and closing a unit for decades in a closed environment such as an office.

asbestos-safe-door    asbestos-safe-door

A study by the BZR Institute in Bonn, Germany, found that asbestos fibres released through abrasion by opening and closing a light metal door on an asbestos fire seal released enough asbestos fibres to exceed the maximum European exposure limit after just three opening and closing cycles.

A safe or cabinet that contains asbestos within its structure is also a danger to maintenance technicians, locksmiths and fire fighters who may be called to a fire where such a unit is located. Due to their age most of these units are quite likely to have a mechanical key or combination lock and therefore likely to have a lock-out event at some stage. On many occasions this requires the safe, cabinet body or door, to be drilled open. Drilling a contaminated safe or cabinet will result in amounts of airborne dust containing asbestos in one of its most dangerous forms due to its incorporation into the body of many safes and cabinets as an anti-combustion filling material or as a curing agent in cement. In a fire asbestos from these units is likely to be released due to intense heat exposure and structural collapse.

Certified Safes Ireland™ have a great deal of experience in identifying serious risks posed to both staff and management by pre-2000 safes and strongrooms that may contain asbestos, a problem which has plagued many financial institutions and offices. If such a risk is  identified by Certified Safes Ireland™, any such equipment will be dealt professionally and in strictest confidence. Certified Safes Ireland™ have already dealt with several situations, removing, and disposing of such equipment for Credit Unions in Ireland.

Click below to view Law Society article or HSA notice:

    HSA Asbestos Safes

 

Nationwide Safe And Locksmith Services, Training, Support And Maintenance

 Remote support & scheduled training

Certified Safes Ireland™ offer training and remote support to all of our clients, their staff, and on-site maintenance personnel, including, software installation and GDPR compliant management for audit and time locking, deposit safe cash drop scanning operation and back-office software, multi-user time lock and time delay lock programming and basic on-site trouble shooting, backed by an extensive range of specially recorded training and troubleshooting videos that is constantly being added to.

24/7 Technical service & support

Certified Safes Ireland™ offer an efficient and highly cost-effective safe, vault, and locksmith service to all our clients, including nationwide coverage, 7-day support and emergency lock opening. Our chief safe and strongroom technician is a licensed locksmith and a specialist in non-destructive lock or combination manipulation (Non-Destructive Entry - NDE) with vast industry experience in Ireland and Europe.

Maintenance

As part of a larger group, we can offer fast and efficient service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to attend planned maintenance, commissioning, repairs and call-out duties, not only on safes, strongrooms, security doors and locks, but on all types of data infrastructure, fire, alarm, CCTV and electrical equipment on a contract basis. Our group partners IC Services And Maintenance has built its reputation on efficient planned programmes and quick response. Our integration specialists are the best in their respective fields and are always up to date with relevant codes of practice and training.

 

Expert Advice

 For advice call: +353 1 7076011

Alan Redd Certified Safes Ireland NSAI

Certified Safes Ireland™ director Alan Donohoe Redd is a member of the European CEN263 Working Group responsible for writing European Standards for safes, strongrooms (vaults), secure cabinets and physical data protection for the European Union. A registered NATO supplier and a longstanding member of the European Security Systems Association, Alan has a vast range of experience spanning almost 40 years and encompassing installation of safes, strongrooms, physical data protection, CCTV, alarms, access control, secure storage control systems and Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) specification, design, and installation.

Alan is an expert on standards and fraud issues related to secure storage in Europe and the UK, has had articles related to these subjects published by The Law Society Gazette and Irish Broker Magazine, has forced retractions of multiple false claims related to secure storage offerings to the public, including some published by the Irish Times, and has been pivotal in having misleading standards and practises recognised and withdrawn in Ireland, the UK and at a European level.