How Brigade is improving forklift safety with its ZoneSafe RFID technology

Forklifts are useful and versatile vehicles able to operate in a variety of settings, including warehouses, depots, distribution centres, worksites, airports and seaports. 

No matter how you are using a forklift, safety will be a top priority for operators, drivers, groundworkers and pedestrians alike. 

However, every year in the UK, according to britsafe.org, around 1,300 employees are hospitalised due to serious injuries following a forklift incident. In fact, accident figures based on RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) over the last three years show that 43% of incidents involving a forklift truck were impacts with a third person. 

Of these, around 65% were pedestrians, 20% co-workers and 15% delivery drivers watching or assisting with loading or unloading a vehicle. 

The UK isn’t the only country with alarming statistics pertaining to forklift safety. In Europe, Dutch researchers EVO identified that the primary type of accident caused by forklift trucks is pedestrians being hit by the vehicle. While in Germany, the DGUV, the organisation responsible for statutory occupation accident insurance in the country, cited that there were more than 36,000 accidents involving industrial trucks in 2018 – 64% of them associated with forklifts.  

ZoneSafe – smart technology that saves lives 

According to research from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), approximately 70% of incidents on sites happen during initial machine start-up and low speed movement due to poor visibility.  

Warehouses, distribution centres, construction sites, manufacturing depots, seaports and airports can all be extremely challenging environments with numerous hazards to navigate. The presence of ground staff and pedestrians makes these areas particularly difficult in terms of ensuring safety is maintained at all times. So, what can operators do to improve safety conditions? 

The answer: fitting Brigade’s ZoneSafe RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology.

Designed for use in areas such as warehouses, construction sites, manufacturing sites, waste sites, airports and distribution centres, ZoneSafe uses vehicle-mounted antennas that communicate with detection tags, which can be worn by workers, set up in restricted areas or placed on objects or property. When a tag enters a detection zone, the vehicle operator will automatically receive a visual and audible alert via the in-cab control unit, which will enable them to take the necessary action. Tags worn by workers on foot will also vibrate to warn of an approaching vehicle. 

Due to the RFID technology, which does not require line-of-sight, tags will be detected regardless of obstructions, blind spots, adverse weather conditions or poor visibility. Each tag can be uniquely identified and linked to individual people. 

This makes ZoneSafe ideal for vehicles, like forklift trucks, that frequently operate within close proximity of workers and other machines. It provides fast, reliable and accurate data exchange without any limitation on the number of tags or antennas in operation, making it perfect for large areas like warehouses and distribution centres. 

According to RIDDOR, the number of forklift truck injuries is on the rise and more will need to be done to ensure safety is maintained and enhanced in areas where forklifts are in use. ZoneSafe, and its pioneering technology, is a huge leap towards achieving this. 

For further information about Brigade and our range of commercial vehicle safety products, please speak to one of our friendly team on 01322 420300 or email hello@brigade-electronics.com.

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