ZoneSafe®: how our new RFID technology is enhancing safety on construction worksites

Safety in the construction industry is taken extremely seriously. Big improvements have been made in recent years helping to reduce the number and rates of injuries to workers.

However, the risks are still present and statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) show that despite a decrease in the number of enforcement notices issued by inspectors in 2019/2020, deaths and injuries in the sector are still dangerously high.

HSE reported that of the 111 fatal injuries at work nationally, 40 of these were in the construction sector – more than 36%. Three out of the top four main types of fatal accidents for workers include being struck by a moving vehicle, being struck by a moving object, and coming into contact with moving machinery.

HSE’s guidance for the safe use of vehicles on construction sites recommends that adequate visibility for the driver is a key factor and states that ‘visibility aids, such as vehicle CCTV, should be fitted to vehicles to overcome significant blind spots along the sides and the rear of large vehicles, particularly where pedestrians are at risk’.

Keeping site workers and other pedestrians safe is clearly a crucial and necessary task. Machinery and mobile plant can pose a very real danger to those on the ground, especially when operating in challenging environments.

Vehicles and mobile plant frequently operate within close proximity of workers and other machinery. Safety is fundamental, but driver visibility can often be limited by complex blind spots due to a vehicle’s size, shape, load and operator position. Without intervention, these blind spots can result in collisions that cause not only damage to vehicles and other assets, but serious injuries or death.

These problems are often exacerbated by difficult working environments, including noise, poor weather conditions or low light. Workers may also be wearing ear defenders, restricting their ability to hear machines approaching. Approximately 70% of incidents on sites happen during initial machine start-up and low speed movement because of poor visibility.

How ZoneSafe® is making construction sites safer

Our new ZoneSafe® Detection System works by using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to create detection zones around vehicles, reducing the risk of injury or damage from collisions and near miss occurrences to people and property.

Designed for use in challenging environments, including construction sites, ZoneSafe® uses vehicle-mounted antennas that communicate with detection tags and 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. ZoneSafe® provides fast, reliable and accurate data exchange without any limitation on the number of tags and up to six antennas on a single vehicle. A detection zone for each antenna can be programmed from three to 10 metres.

For further information about Brigade and our safety products, please get in touch.