In a few weeks’ time, it will become mandatory for everyone on the CERN sites to wear identification badges visibly at all times. There are many good reasons for introducing this measure, and there are reasons for doing it now.
Our Host State authorities have been recommending that we introduce this measure for several years for reasons of security. The visible wearing of badges is becoming standard practice in public and private organisations around the world. Laboratories such as ESRF, Diamond, Soleil and GSI already require the visible wearing of badges, and the policy is also being adopted by universities. In Geneva, pretty much all the international organisations have such a policy in place already. This means that the security services have been able to measure the impact of introducing the policy, and the evidence clearly shows that organisations with badge wearing policies are less prone to issues ranging from petty theft to major security incidents.
Although wearing badges visibly may seem an additional burden, there are advantages. Badges provide a simple way of identifying people. We can all tell at a glance who’s who, and that’s a powerful aid to civility in the workplace. If we see a visitor looking lost, for example, we can offer help. And, unfortunate though it is to say, studies have shown that people on the whole behave in a more courteous manner when they know they can be identified.
Our badges grant us access to the places we need to be at CERN to carry out our work – they literally open doors for us. We need them to enter the site in the morning, and in future, extra functionality might be added to facilitate our working lives. If we’re unfortunate enough to suffer an accident at work, a visible badge can help with identification, and in some circumstances could even prove to be a life-saver.
Wearing badges visibly is a cultural shift at CERN, and we’re relying on you to make it work.