This month in the safety realm, we mark the World Day for Safety at Work on 28th April. Coincidentally, it’s also Worker Memorial Day.
I mention these two anniversaries because I have been known to quote statistics about occupational safety and fatalities in my posts. They are a stark reality in my area of safety provision and remain serious work-related issues in the UK.
However, the World Day for Safety at Work reminds me that occupational safety belongs to everyone. I think we all have a responsibility to make things safer at work, from the Board right across to the employees in the field. As safety solutions providers, I believe that we have a special duty to ensure that our technology is always evolving with the needs at hand. This is why feedback from our clients is so vital because targeted safety provision doesn’t work without it.
This month at SiteZone Safety we announced that we were installing our innovative SmartBubble system on all excavators already fitted out with SiteZone proximity warning systems. For anyone that doesn’t know, SmartBubble automates authorised approach to plant vehicles when they are in a ‘safe state’ without triggering workers’ SiteZone proximity warning tags and system alarms. It reduces “nuisance alarms” and downtime on site. It also operates well with existing safety protocols, like ‘thumbs up’.
Now, it’s available with the dead man’s handle option on all excavators. That means SmartBubble reduces the SiteZone exclusion zone when the machine is in a safe state, i.e. the deadman’s handle (DMH) is engaged. As soon as the DMH is disengaged the exclusion zone increases to its “working” size.
This decision to make SmartBubble a fixed feature was made because we listened. Since SmartBubble was launched in 2019, it has been popular with clients, and it’s made a real difference to the working environments on site. So, we’ve provided it as standard on excavators so there’s an extra element of proximity warning safety that workers obviously need and appreciate.
It’s a small thing to do in the grand scheme of things. But like I always say, every worker has the right not to be run over at work and return home safely at the end of the day. So this is us doing one more thing to help narrow that gap of collision risk. The whole point of the safety provision is that it must be effective - preventing injury and fatalities where it’s needed most. And from what we heard, SmartBubble was needed. So this year, more workers will benefit from increased protection around them on site with the help of technology.
As we all look out for each other to keep safe and well remember the motto for Worker Memorial Day – “ Mourn the dead but fight for the living”.
I would suggest that we keep fighting for exemplary occupational safety provision, keep innovating, speak up, listen, share ideas, mobilise new initiatives. Let’s work hard to make sure that all voices are heard when we design new safety tools. That way we’ll know that when we apply them, they’re really going to make a difference in an effective and measurable manner.