Safety technology that enhances rather than replaces — The flexibility of RFID Anti-Collison systems

Gary Escott, Director of SiteZone Safety, discusses the benefits of using an RFID proximity warning system that works in tandem with existing safety protocols, not apart from them.

*According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) waste sector figures

There were 5000 self-reported non-fatal injuries in 2017. However, nine people were killed in the last five years from being struck by a vehicle. 39 people in total lost their lives in a sector that still has one of the highest rates of worker fatalities in the UK.

When we launched the SiteZone proximity warning system, we knew that it would have a significant impact on worker safety and help mitigate vehicle/personnel collision risk more efficiently. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) reduces the margin for operator error by using technology that can see around corners, through dust, fog and any other environmental hindrance. Now there are approximately 10,000 tags in use on sites and in depots around the UK, keeping workers safer from collision risk.

Enhance not replace
One of SiteZone’s greatest benefits is that it has been a ‘friend’ to site, and health and safety managers because it fits in seamlessly with existing health and safety protocols. It helps to make them better, rather than making them obsolete. Employers do not have to rewrite the safety handbook, because the existing safety practices are good common sense, coupled with gradual improvements through experience. SiteZone and its variants offer an enhanced factor to the existing processes, which creates an even stronger safety infrastructure in which workers can function. It must be a complement to existing practices, not a replacement.

Segregation
In constrained spaces, like depots, sites and yards where personnel and vehicles are constantly interacting at close quarters, segregation methods are recommended to avoid collisions. WISH (Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum) and the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) specifically set out segregation protocols to apply at waste sites. This is physically achieved by traffic management, the provision of dedicated pedestrian walkways and safe placement of barriers to keep working vehicles and people apart

Using the SiteZone RFID proximity warning system, as part of segregation practices, adds an extra element of safety awareness should vehicles and personnel stray into each other’s working areas despite traffic management measures.In addition to the vehicle mounted SiteZone systems, SiteZone iNstant was launched as the first wireless proximity warning system of its kind in the UK. SiteZone iNstant does not require any hard cabling, so it can be used anywhere. This could be on vehicles or to segregate unsafe areas where it may be difficult to segregate physically, or where an area has suddenly become dangerous and immediate action needs to be taken. It works in the same way as SiteZone, so workers and vehicle operators still receive audible and visual warnings when they are too close to danger.

Crossing points
In busy depots and sites there will always be crossing points where people and vehicles have a higher likelihood of interacting. The HSE makes it very clear that where such points exist there must be robust measures in place - signage and signals. However, in the warehouse or depot scenario, there is an added challenge where visibility may be obscured because of poor lighting, stacked crates or containers. When using forklifts to move containers for example, visibility around corners and obstacles may compromise the safety of a crossing point, and this is where RFID can make a difference. Crossing point alerts are achieved when RFID detectors are placed at ‘hot spots’ where collisions are at high risk of occurrence due to poor visibility between workers and forklifts.

These have been specific and common examples of where RFID proximity warning systems can make a difference, without requiring a total overhaul of existing safety practices. However, because of its inherent flexibility, SiteZone has been adapted  to all kinds of safety situations and requirements:

Slow and Stop
Transmon Engineering have enhanced the SiteZone proximity warning system for forklifts with the addition of the slow and stop feature. It further enhances the SiteZone safety capability by automatically slowing a forklift truck’s speed on detection of a worker’s tag.

 

Slow and Stop

 

Smart clothing
This is where our RFID proximity warning alarm was joined with a smart jacket that lights up when the wearer enters a vehicle’s exclusion zone.

Safety with a longer reach
Since some vehicles have extendable components, there is a version of the proximity warning system that is particularly useful for covering the perimeter of loading shovels and excavator buckets, rather than just the body of the vehicle.

     


Instant protection

Launched in the UK in 2016 as the first wireless proximity warning system for instant deployment for short term vehicle visits. Furthermore, it can create static safety zones and crossing point alerts on any chosen area on site that might be unsafe to traverse.

Dumper friendly
An option specially designed for forward tipping dumpers to help operators ‘see’ through loaded skips, so they do not hit workers on foot.

Learning by data capture
A telematics option that records all the system’s incidences, near misses, alarm triggers and sends the information to the Cloud, available for analysis by managers later. The creativity and innovation of SiteZone’s design and variants are driven by a desire to ensure that every worker can do their job safely and go back home unharmed at the end of day. Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment, and that is what evolving technology can help to achieve.

© This article was originally posted here; http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=1256f711-7465-4eda93-32ef3996da34&pnum=86, Facts Magazine, Issue 135, 2018.

About the author

Gary Escott is the co-founder of SiteZone Safety, he has worked in the field of mobile plant safety for 15 years and has worked on the introduction of technology based safety products across other sectors. His goal is reducing the risk of collisions between vehicles and vulnerable persons using innovative products and technology.

comments powered by Disqus

Get in touch

Find out more from our safety specialist

Keeping your workplace safe

Have a look at our Site Safety Tool Box to see what you can do to reduce the risk of vehicle – personnel collisions.