When deciding on the most appropriate security seal for your specific application, you must determine the the type of seal and the level of security it provides. There are many types of seals that must be considered, however the most popular and versatile option are pull-tight/pull-through seals. These seals are a tamper-evident seal with an adjustable plastic strap that can be inserted into the lock and pulled through to tightly secure the movement of the seal and object. However, other seal options provide limited adjustability and engage a barrier to entry for cargo and shipments.
Seal characteristics and selection
There are two primary choices when determining the correct seal for your business: tamper-evident or tamper-proof. These are two completely different options as the former provides a visual indicator of tampering, whilst the latter seal type is a preventative barrier to entry. Whilst tamper-proof seals are applied easily by hand, they often require bolt-cutters or industrial tools for seal removal. If you wish to prevent access to highly valuable cargo then we would always suggest a seal from our Metal Barrier Seal range. These seals are widely used in the sealing of shipping containers and is governed by international regulations that control their validity for international transport (ISO/PAS17712 and C-TPAT regulations).
After selecting the best seal type, you must then consider the size and strength requirement for your seal. Security seals breaking strength (kg) relates to the tensile force they can withstand before breaking. Most plastic pull-tight seals have a low break strain and can therefore be broken apart easily by hand. However, some barrier seals can withstand up to 1,000kg of force before they break, including our HMRC Bolt Seal and Metal Cable Seal – 3.5mm.
Size of the tag and printing area: the tag is the head of the seal where the seal information and identification is printed. It usually has a more or less rectangular shape. If you require a substantial amount of print space then a larger tag size will allow for more print options such as logos/images and barcoding.
Strap size and diameter: The size of your strap/tail must be taken into account and are often provided in length and width (mm). The length of the strap must an appropriate length and width to fit the object or lock it is being inserted or applied to. For example, our Skyseal Security Seals – 200mm measure 200mm in length and 2mm in width, appropriate for most applications.
Security seal best practices
So you’ve selected the perfect seal – good job! Now, how do you employ a seal procedure that is most efficient for your business process? Don’t overthink it and follow these steps to ensure that the seal is being applied correctly, logged appropriately and tracked properly.
- Determine and allocate access to the seals: if you are a smaller business, choose someone to be responsible for security seals in the company. The employee must be properly trained in the handling of seals and it will be their responsibility to determine when they are needed.
- Store securely and control access: access to the seals must be limited in order to prevent stock shrinkage and deter fraud by employees or even third parties who may have obtain illegitimate access.
- Log and track ID and seal numbering: a fully audited log system ensures a timely supply of seals and also prevents you running out of stock. More importantly, they allow you to track each applied seal (and thus the secured cargo) all the way through the supply chain. This is often done via the sequential numbering printed onto each individual seal.
- Regular seal checks during movement: employ a regular check system on secured cargo whereby a driver must record the seal numbers at the beginning of its journey and subsequent handlers must check and re-record the seal numbers to confirm cargo has not been tampered with before it reached them. This allows a complete audit trail for your supply chain to determine as it will allow you to pinpoint where any tampering may have occurred.
- Stay up-to-date with the new regulations: It’s a good idea to keep up-to-date with the possible changes that are on the way. Brexit has mandated that seals become an essential element to the importing and exporting of goods and cargo. We do our best to stay up-to-date so you don’t have to worry too much about how your business may be hindered by upcoming regulations. Subscribe to the JW mailing list to ensure you get any critical legislative updates that could affect your business!