5 things to consider when investing in a proximity warning system

2ND MARCH 2023



Safety should always be a top priority on construction and waste recycling sites, especially when it comes to the safety of pedestrian workers.

Unfortunately, accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles are still a significant risk in these environments. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2017 and 2021​, there were 960 fatal occupational injuries resulting from being struck by a powered vehicle, and 127 of these fatalities occurring in construction in 2021 alone​​.

To prevent these types of accidents, many construction and waste recycling companies in North America are turning to proximity warning systems. By warning vehicle operators and workers when they are too close to one another, accidents can be avoided and over time attitudes and behaviours around how these two groups interact can be improved.

"The system should be minimally invasive to the day-to-day operations – invisible until it is needed.

Here are five things to consider when looking for a proximity warning system to keep pedestrians safe on your site:

1. Accuracy

A proximity warning system needs to be accurate to be effective. It should be able to detect pedestrians and vehicles accurately and quickly, providing warnings in time to prevent accidents.

False alerts reduce confidence in the system, as do alerts when there is no real danger. It is important to define an exclusion zone that provides the level of safety required, without giving rise to nuisance alarms.

2. Ease of implementation and maintenance

The warning system should be easy to install and maintain. Construction sites are busy environments, and you don't want to spend a lot of time and resources setting up and maintaining the system.

Once installed, the system should be minimally invasive to the day-to-day operations – invisible until it is needed. The complexity of deployment and use should be minimised to ensure worker engagement remains high.

3. Flexibility

Construction sites are dynamic environments, and the warning system needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions. It should be easy to move and adjust as needed.

During different activities, or when the vehicle is stationary, different exclusion zone sites may be required. While it should be easy to adapt the zone size, it is vital that this is a controlled action, that only those who understand the safety implications can perform.

4. Durability

Construction sites can be harsh environments, with dust, debris, and other hazards that can damage sensitive equipment.

The proximity warning system should be robust enough to withstand these workplace conditions and continue to function reliably.

It's also paramount that it can still work effectively in all weather and temperature conditions.

5. Cost

While safety is paramount, cost is always a consideration. You want to find a proximity warning system that provides the level of protection you need at a reasonable cost. The total cost of ownership of any piece of equipment needs to be considered.

While the upfront costs can be clearly defined, ongoing maintenance and service costs can be more difficult to quantify. All inclusive service packages can help provide clarity on the total cost. Additionally, any administrative costs in managing the equipment must be considered.

By considering these five factors when choosing a proximity warning system, you can help keep pedestrians safe on your construction site. Check out the SensorZone proximity warning system to see how you could improve safety in your organisation.

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