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.
What plant operators like most about RFID proximity warning systems.
For us to develop and continue to refine SiteZone technology and its application, the most vital elements of our informed decision-making comes from users. We listen to the concerns of health and safety managers and the operators of site vehicles of all types and sizes who work and drive around their workmates daily.
Without taking this information on board, SiteZone wouldn’t be an effective proximity warning system (pws). It makes plant-personnel collision risk more manageable thanks to wearable radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. These RFID systems can ‘see’ past visual obstructions giving targeted warning alarms to both drivers and pedestrians should they enter each other’s working area.
Over the years, our user feedback has highlighted key elements that vehicle operators like about using an RFID pws. I thought that this was worth sharing. For me, it’s really satisfying to know that astute development and application of technology can impact someone’s life so positively. These are the operator’s favourite advantages from using RFID pws:
- It has super vision: unlike CCTV, or on-board cameras, RFID can ‘see around corners’. It isn’t hindered by dust, smoke or poor light conditions. Operators are assured that there are technological eyes picking up on collision dangers that the drivers can’t always see themselves.
- Everybody knows what’s going on: RFID enables two-way communication between the plant operator and the pedestrian. This is a unique feature as both parties must take responsibility for collision avoidance. Equipment and machinery are fitted with an RFID base station, while pedestrians have RFID transponders fitted to their hard hat or sleeve. When a pedestrian enters the collision danger zone of a vehicle both the pedestrian and driver receive a ‘proximity warning’. The RFID tag vibrates, making the pedestrian aware of the vehicle, while the driver is alerted by sound and flashing lights.
- You can rewind and learn: SiteZone improves training as all events are recorded and, using the OverSite telematics system, the data is sent to the Cloud for managers to analyse. In this way, they can identify potential safety training needs and keep workers safer. Over a month, one user was able to reduce the number of zone breaches by 97.5% across their site.
- Any worker can get hold of it: RFID systems like SiteZone can be hired from ESS Safeforce. This makes it cost effective for small businesses or single operators for short term projects, without the need to invest heavily just to be safe on site. Furthermore, it comes with installation and maintenance support.
- It makes work less stressful: operators report that when they use the system they feel less stress; the underlying worry that they might have a collision with someone on foot significantly diminishes. Site workers on foot also share that using SiteZone makes them more aware of plant movements around them.
- It makes everyone more safety-aware on site: ultimately, because everyone is using the system on a site, there is a new culture of improved spatial awareness growing in site safety.
Many high-risk sectors still have a long way to go to reduce their collision risk statistics. However, the more that technology is used sympathetically and integrated organically within safety protocols at work, significant improvements can be made. We have the know-how, we just need to embrace it and listen to the ones most at risk – lives may depend on it.
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