Radar obstacle detection – a life-saving advance in worksite safety

Accidents in the workplace continue to be a disturbing problem in the UK. Certain industries naturally pose more risk than others: a computer programmer, for example, is clearly less likely to have an accident than a worker on a construction site. Yet – barring freak conditions such as natural disasters – work-related accidents are almost always preventable.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, recently issued its latest report into fatal injuries arising from accidents at work. There were 137 people killed at work in 2016/2017, with construction and agriculture once again accounting for the greatest number of fatalities. In agriculture, the rate of injury is 18 times higher than the average across all industries.

What were the main causes of these 137 deaths? The list below makes grim reading:

  • Struck by a moving vehicle – 31
  • Falls from a height – 25
  • Struck by moving object – 20
  • Trapped by something collapsing/overturning – 10
  • Contact with moving machinery – 8
  • Contact with electricity – 8

In its report, the HSE noted: “Examining the causal factors behind individual fatal accidents, it is often found that an unfortunate set of chance events have occurred together with shortcomings in safety precautions.”

While there’s little that employers can do to prevent ‘chance events’, shortcomings in safety precautions can always be addressed. The HSE’s figures clearly spotlight the dangers of operating heavy machinery, especially in industries such as construction and agriculture – as well as mining, quarrying and waste, which are also highlighted in the report.

For over four decades, Brigade Electronics has worked tirelessly to develop vehicle safety systems that help prevent accidents and save lives. While vehicle safety has undoubtedly improved over the years, dangers continue to be ever-present.

Blind spots tend to be much more extensive on large worksite vehicles and include not only the rear and nearside but also the front, especially with elevated driver positions. Harsh terrains, thick dust, smoke and fog decrease visibility still further.

Camera monitor systems help eliminate blind spots in most scenarios, but another weapon in the armoury is necessary when visibility is poor. This is where radar obstacle detection comes in.

Brigade’s Backsense® radar sensor systems detect stationary and moving objects, providing the driver with in-cab visual and audible warnings and thereby creating an instant alert to danger.

The Backsense® range comes in programmable and fixed models. The programmable version allows bespoke detection areas to be fixed up to 30m in length and 10m in width, and the fixed model offers a detection range up to 6m.

While it may not be possible to eliminate every single element of risk when manoeuvring heavy plant and machinery, radar obstacle detection is another step forward in protecting the lives of vehicle operators and those working around them. To find out more and to request a brochure, please call us on 01322 420300 or get in touch via our contact form.