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Proximity Warning System vs Activated signage: Which is the most effective safety system for your workplace?

Proximity Warning System vs Activated signage: Which is the most effective safety system for your workplace?

Committing to safety by investing in new and innovative ways to protect people is a positive move. Whatever investment you make, ensuring it’s the right one for your business is important. A system that fits well into the workplace will have a positive impact not only on safety but also on your workforce.

Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, often resulting in lifelong injury or even death. By proactively addressing known risks, serious accidents can be avoided. One of the most significant risks in the industries we work in is pedestrian/vehicle collisions. Being struck by a moving vehicle is the third leading cause of fatal accidents at work in the UK. Twenty people were killed by moving vehicles in the workplace in 2022/23[1].

Every worksite is different, so it’s important to consider individual site characteristics and risks before investing. ZoneSafe specialises in pedestrian detection systems that significantly reduce the chance of pedestrian/vehicle collisions. We work with businesses to help identify the best solution for them.

Proximity warning system

ZoneSafe Proximity Warning systems offer a flexible and highly effective pedestrian detection system easily adapted to meet specific site challenges. 

Using tags and sensors, the ZoneSafe system uses RFID technology to communicate between pedestrians and vehicles. The system creates an adjustable, invisible detection zone around hazards (vehicles or assets). When the detection zone is breached, the alarm is raised simultaneously to drivers through the in-cab alarm and pedestrians via tags worn on their person. The alert can be visual through flashing lights, audio through a sounding alarm and/or vibration.

Benefits of ZoneSafe Proximity Warning Systems

  • Mitigates accidents Pedestrians and vehicle operators are alerted before an accident happens. This raises awareness so that operators can stop their vehicles and pedestrians can move to a safe place so collisions can be avoided. ZoneSafe creates safer working conditions and can mean the difference between a near miss or a potential life-changing collision or worse. 
  • Create segregation – Complete segregation of people and vehicles is the best way to prevent collisions. ZoneSafe makes this possible even in the most challenging locations.
  • Easy to apply – Highly flexible, ZoneSafe is installed in just a few hours with minimum disruption. Once implemented, tags are worn as a normal part of everyday PPE and are small enough to be worn on a lanyard or in a pocket. Sensors and antennas are easily fitted to vehicles and can fitted to any manual handling equipment.

Collect safety-critical data – ZoneSafe collects real-time data which identifies concerning worker behaviour and safety hot spots within the site. This insight is invaluable in addressing known safety concerns, improving training and identifying areas of risk. It makes it possible to apply a fully preventative safety approach to the workplace. 

 

Is a proximity warning system the best solution for your workplace?

ZoneSafe proximity warning solutions are most effective in areas where access is controlled, and pedestrians and visitors can wear tags. ZoneSafe has been successfully applied to a wide range of sectors, including:

Warehouse and logistics
Despite considerable efforts in traffic risk management within the warehouse and logistics sector, there are still scenarios where pedestrians and forklifts must interact frequently for operational reasons and, therefore, still require safety solutions such as proximity warnings.

Waste and recycling
The waste and recycling industry has been reported as having one of the highest incidents involving workers being struck by a moving vehicle, making it essential for waste and recycling facilities to implement safety measures to reduce the risk of such accidents.

Manufacturing
Vehicle operators in manufacturing sites often report difficulties due to poor visibility caused by oversized loads and blind spots, making it challenging to detect potential collisions, leading to severe accidents and injuries.

Timber Mills
Timber Mills face risks from large vehicles operating in the timber yard; large loaders have many vehicle blind spots, making it difficult to spot pedestrians working nearby.

Airports
Busy airports, short turnaround times and limited space are just some of the factors that add to the pressure on service companies carrying out pre-flight apron activities and the need to protect assets on the ground from the risk of accidental collisions.

Agriculture
Accidents in the farming industry can have serious consequences, both for the workers and the business. Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the UK, with a fatal injury rate that is over four times higher than the national average.

Case Studies 

 

Activated signage

Activated signage offers safety-critical businesses an easy-to-use solution suitable for almost any workplace. By delivering a highly visual alert at the right moment, awareness is raised, and accidents are avoided. 

The system works by triggering a visual alert to gain attention in locations where there is a high risk of collision between pedestrians and vehicles and in areas where people work in close proximity to moving equipment.  

Under The Health and Safety Regulations 1996 (Safety signs and signals), safety signage is a legal obligation where there is ‘significant risk to the health and safety of employees’ despite all other measures being in place[2]. Signs are strategically placed to alert everyone to the presence of danger, but it is very easy to become complacent or ‘blind’ to their message. 

‘Sign blindness’ is a common phenomenon in locations where many signs are in place. When signage is repeatedly seen, it’s possible to become desensitised to the message and forget the danger nearby. The risk is exceptionally high in workplaces where the same people see the same signs multiple times a day, and the message becomes almost invisible over time. In these situations, activated signage can make a big difference. 

Active warning signs are interactive and timely, providing a highly effective means of raising awareness at the right moment – crucially before an accident occurs.

 

The ZoneSafe solution

There are a variety of active signage solutions within the ZoneSafe portfolio – each solution is designed to meet specific safety challenges. 

These include: 

  • Activated warning signs:  Ideal for entry/exit points, doorways and blind corners. A sensor is fitted close to the entry point or blind corner and is automatically activated to alert pedestrians in the area of an approaching vehicle. The alert remains active for as long as the risk is present and is automatically deactivated once the hazard is gone.
  • Activated warning lights: Warning beacons flash red when a vehicle approaches to warn of the hazard. Once the hazard has cleared, the beacons flash green to let pedestrians know it is safe to enter the area. 
  • Traffic lights: Traffic lights help slow traffic and control the flow, making it safer for pedestrians. It is also possible to program the ZoneSafe traffic light system to interact directly with vehicles to help slow them on approach. 
  • Pedestrian access control: An automatic physical barrier is activated to prevent pedestrians from entering vehicles and hazards. 

Projected warning symbolsOn the vehicle approach, a highly engaging warning symbol is automatically projected onto the floor, alerting pedestrians in the area so that they can remove themselves. This system works well around corners, shelving, blind spots and anywhere where visibility is limited. 

 

Is active signage the best solution for your workplace?

ZoneSafe active signage is an effective solution for any worksite. It is beneficial in locations where tagging people is impossible, including large outdoor sites and areas with unrestricted or public access. 

ZoneSafe active warning signs are highly effective in many sectors, including:

  • Warehouse and logistics
  • Waste and recycling
  • Construction
  • Ports and terminals
  • Manufacturing 
  • Airports
  • Marinas
  • Maintenance facilities
  • Agriculture 

If you’d like to discuss your site requirements and determine which ZoneSafe solution works best for your environment, please feel free to contact the team at sales@zonesafe.com

 

[1] https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/fatals.htm

[2] https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/341/schedule/1/made

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