How do you create safer working environments?
Over the last five years there have been 217 fatal incidents on UK construction sites, 10 percent of which were due to workers being struck by moving vehicles. There were also many more major injuries and near misses during this period involving people plant interface with the potential for fatal injury.
Employers are adopting advanced proximity warning systems to help segregate man and machine activities and create safer working environments within two key areas; workplace transport safety and exclusion zones:
Workplace Transport Safety
While various types of proximity warning systems exist, essentially, these safety systems create a detection zones around vehicles, or a restricted area, and an alert is triggered when the detection range has been breached.
Proximity technology can enhance a driver’s situational awareness by establishing a 360 degree exclusion zone around a vehicle to warn the driver when a pedestrian is dangerously close, even if they are obstructed from view in the driver's blind spot.
The separation of people and equipment must be at the forefront on any effective exclusion zone. Exclusion zones are defined locations to prohibit the entry of personnel into danger areas; an area into which unauthorized people are not allowed to go for reasons of safety or security.
Exclusion zones can be created as part of a Site Traffic Management Plan or Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) to allow a high‐risk activity to proceed such as the operation of mobile plant.
Exclusion zones are not always identical in appearance – they can be a nightline reflective flag, solid fencing or a barrier. However, in each instance, they have a highly functional purpose. This includes, but is not limited to:
- allowing a high-risk activity to proceed
- to act as a barrier around a trench of 1.5 metres or deeper
Proximity warning systems create exclusion zones to prevent personnel entering restricted areas. Virtual fences are created to prevent workers from coming into close contact with machinery or hazardous materials. While traditional barriers attempt to physically segregate pedestrians from plant, proximity warning systems anticipate the impending danger in real-time and record the risk event for actionable insight.
Exclusion Zone Risk Assessment
When risk assessing any exclusion zones, it is important to consider the following:
- how likely is someone to enter your work area?
- who should be in control?
- who is best positioned to have control?
- how is the authority delegated/given?
- is the person able to assume responsibility of authority?
- ability to resolve issues?
How can you keep workers safe on a worksite?
Reactec's proximity warning system can keep workers safe from being dangerously close to moving vehicles and active machinery using the latest ultra-wideband technology for fast and highly accurate detection.Learn how Reactec can help
Employers have a legal duty to ensure that the health and safety of their employees, contractors and members of the public are not put at risk as a result of the work they do.
Employees and the self-employed also have a duty to look after their own health and safety and that of anyone who might be affected by their work.
To manage the risks from workplace transport effectively, you need to consider three key areas:
- safe site
- safe vehicle
- safe driver
Some Dos and Don'ts
- Keep people and vehicles apart
- Have clear site rules and enforce them
- Anchor loads securely to the vehicle chassis
- Avoid the need to work at height on vehicles
- Operate vehicles unless you are authorised to do so
Exclusion zones are absolutely essential to everybody’s safety.
- To avoid any injury, separation of people and equipment must be at the forefront on any effective exclusion zone
- The greater the strength of separation the greater the control and the less likelihood of an incident occurring
- Post signage including detours required
- Lock all entry points not being used
- Listen up at your start‐ups and tool box talks so you know where the exclusion zones are on your site
- Never interfere with signage or barriers. You could put another worker’s life at risk. If you need to gain access into an exclusion zone, find the site safety manager first before entering.
- If you see anything unsafe about an exclusion zone, stop work. Tell your safety manager and get it fixed
- You know what it’s like. Sometimes you get a member of the public come into an exclusion zone like this. Stop them and safely escort them off the site
- When operating mobile plant, stop work if your exclusion zone is breached
- When you’re working around exclusion zones, think safe, work safe, go home safe