Every day in the UK, lives are dramatically changed because of injuries resulting from accidents involving industrial vehicles. From excavators, loaders, dump trucks and pavers to cranes, forklifts, reach stackers and harvesters – all are at risk of accidents.
The HSE’s accident statistics show that forklifts are currently the most dangerous form of materials-handling equipment (MHE) in this country; they injure more people than Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) or Large Goods Vehicles (LGV). A HUGE 25% of workplace transport injuries are a direct result of forklift truck accidents.
According to the British Safety Council, around 1,300 UK employees are hospitalised every year with serious injuries following forklift accidents, and that number is rising. That’s FIVE UK workers each work day suffering debilitating and life-changing injuries.
The British Safety Council also state that pedestrians are particularly at risk – accounting for 57% of those injured or killed in forklift accidents.
This scary statistic highlights that in the industrial sector, pedestrian and industrial vehicles working in close proximity is a necessity (and unavoidable) – so a solution to prevent incidents involving pedestrians and vehicles is imperative.
Segregation of pedestrians and machinery is key – whether hard segregation (for example, fixed barriers) or soft segregation (painted walkways) is used, people MUST BE SEPARATED from machinery in a safe manner to prevent incidents.
Businesses can spend a fortune on many different accident prevention solutions – and then can experience that those preventions are not always successful on their own.
Pedestrian walkways can be segregated from the area in which the vehicles are operating. This is soft segregation. These are usually in the form of painted walkways, designating where pedestrians should walk – much in the same way you would see painted lines round a running track.
This method is great for segregating, yet can sometimes come up against situations where an extra solution is needed. This could be needed when a delivery vehicle whose driver is not familiar with the surroundings could possibly see the painted lines when reversing, but would not spot a pedestrian walking behind their vehicle.
There is a lot of responsibility on the pedestrian and the driver to be extra observant. Both parties can also become complacent and will assume safety is not an issue.
An example of a hard segregation solution is barriers. Barriers are physical separation using railings at various heights. They prevent pedestrians from accidentally straying into vehicle routes and unsafe areas.
This method is also great for segregating, yet can be difficult to implement if there are areas that have several vehicle routes and pedestrian walkways that cross each other several times on one site.
So what is the solution?
There is a need for a solution that can complement both hard and soft segregation.
ZoneSafe is an all-encompassing solution that uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to segregate pedestrian and vehicles, while also alerting both parties that they are in close proximity with each other.
For more information about ZoneSafe’s suite of accident prevention solutions, visit www.zonesafe.net