Security Seal Standards

The Registrar Of Voters has an incredible 6% seal tampering rate, with apparently no followup. They don't seem to follow standard security seal procedures.

Ballot Box seals

Seal Management Best Practices

  • Inspect your seals on receipt. Your unique marking and numbering are important to the integrity of the seal.
  • Confirm you have correct quantity, type, color, markings and numbers.
  • Note any errors or discrepancy and report it to seal vendor.
  • Keep seals in a secure place.
  • Limit access to only responsible persons, and document the release of all seals.
  • Assign an individual or department be responsible for seal inventory control.
  • Determine rate of use and plan a re-order date at least six weeks prior to expected depletion of stock.
HANDLING AND USE (also see specific instructions for this seal)
  • Know the locking procedure, design and features of this seal.
  • Give seals only to authorized persons
  • Document all seals taken from storage.
  • Apply seals securely according to instructions for this model. Note any problems or unusual visible damage like bent hasps, worn holes, unusual conditions or cosmetic damage to seals in applying.
  • Destroy seals completely after use DO NOT SIMPLY TOSS THEM OUT OR LEAVE PARTS OR CUT SEALS INTACT; OR UNDER CONDITIONS WHERE THEY MAY BE COLLECTED BY OTHERS. Ideally it is good practice to return them to a central facility for destruction by an authorized and trained inspector.
  • Train all persons who will handle or inspect these seals, regarding your procedures and policies.
  • Inspect seals thoroughly at locking point, and at destination before cutting.
  • Add inspections at points or times as required by your use. (Example: require inspection if you are handing over custody or control of a locked seal to another company or agency.)
  • Confirm it was locked and intact when it leaves your control.
  • For seals in long-time use: such as utility meters, valves and secure areas, schedule regular inspections at least annually.
  • Inspection should include both visual examination and physically pulling or turning the seal to assure it is properly locked and intact. Refer to directions and specifications supplied for the specific seal type you are using.
  • Report any irregularities, open or damaged seals. Replace if needed.
  • Return any seals to your supplier or our factory if on inspection they are found not locked properly, appear defective, or show signs of tampering which cannot be explained by known conditions or normal handling and wear.
  • Keep an inventory record of seals on a log sheet or inventory control sheet, whether in paper form or electronic. A thorough system would include 3 sets of data.
    1. Inventory and issue information
    2. Use and application information
    3. Destination or removed-from-service data.
  • SEAL ISSUE data should at least include: seal number, issue date/time, who issued the seal, where assigned (person, container number, meter number or location) and any use information specific to your organization such as departments, projects or client reference.
  • USE & APPLICATION data will vary according to your purpose but should include: Seal number, person applying the seal, date/time of locking and where the seal is assigned. This may be same as issue data, or may also be a secondary assignment. (Example; 25 seals issued to an inspector from inventory for use in multiple locations would require the inspector to note the assigned application for each at time of sealing.)
  • DESTINATION OR REMOVED-FROM SERVICE information is the information recorded when the seal is either: turned over to the authority of another party, cut and removed at transport destination, cut and removed when unscheduled entry is required, or when it’s use time is expired. In transport it may be the customer at arrival or transfer of ownership to an agent. In utilities and other areas it may be a change of service, authorized opening of a secure area, etc.

ISO/PAS 17712

This standard specifies physical standards for security seals.

  • Indicative Seal – Seal that is constructed and manufactured of material that can easily be broken by hand or by using a simple snipping tool or shear. Indicative seals require inspection to indicate whether tampering has occurred or entry has been attempted.

  • Security Seal – Passive, one time locking device that is used to provide a reliable indicator of tampering (unauthorized removal or attempted removal)
or entry. The security seal provides limited resistance or unintentional attempt to open it and enter the freight container that is sealed with the seal. Security Seals require inspection to indicate whether tampering has occurred or entry has been attempted.

  • High Security Seals – Security Seal that is constructed and manufactured of material such as metal or metal cable with the intent to delay intrusion. High
security seals generally must be removed with quality bolt cutters or cable cutters. They require inspection to indicate whether tampering has occurred or entry has been attempted.

The physical strength of the seal is determined by a Tensile, Shear, Bending, and Impact Test. The classification requirements for each test are outlined on the back.

Requirements for Manufacturers

Manufacturers must comply with many standards, such as ISO 9001 standards, surprise inspections, and also must:

  • Manufacturer will produce seals with unique identifiers, such as a combination of company marks, numbers, and letters. Manufacturer will not re-use or duplicate seal numbers unless authorized by a shipper for a specific seal application.
  • Manufacturer utilizes an automated database that tracks seal identifiers of all seals it produces or has produced for it, and which identifies any potential duplication of identifiers. Upon request from a government agency, the manufacturer agrees to present proof that records such as date of production, date seals were shipped, and names of consignees are available. Retains information for a period of five (5) years.
  • Manufacturers will help educate distributors and resellers on the importance of an effective seal security program.
  • Manufacturers will help educate the users when possible on the importance of record keeping and in the correct way to use the seals.
Topic revision: r1 - 29 Sep 2009, RaymondLutz
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