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SiteZone Productivity – thinking laterally about safety

Gary Escott Sep 11, 2019 10:48:00 AM
Wheeled loader with onboard weighing system

As passionate as I am about safety, I’m also committed to developing SiteZone Safety as a business. It’s been a challenging yet fulfilling journey so far. All the while, it has been very important to me that effective safety solutions have been at the heart of the business, with anti-collision technology forging the way ahead.  So, when we launched the SiteZone Productivity offering, I imagine that a few people wondered what we were doing.

It’s simple really. We were doing what we’ve always done – finding ways to make high risk, work-related transport jobs safer. The thing is, this time, we came at it from a different angle, the one that’s not so visible, not so obvious, not so head-on.  Our proximity warning system, SiteZone, speaks for itself.  It’s supposed to prevent workers in vehicles colliding with their colleagues on foot. That’s your safety story, up-front and self-explanatory.

But weighing solutions? How does that have any bearing on anti-collision safety? It does, if you look for the connectivity between the various aspects of work-related transport functions. If you examine vehicle movement, what affects or disrupts it, increasing or decreasing their interactions with work-related pedestrians, there is a significant relevance.

During the vehicle weighing process, if a plant or transport vehicle is found to be under-loaded at a site exit, it must return to the site and load to the correct weight before it can leave. This means that it adds to the site traffic, interrupts its flow, and there are too many vehicles driving around in proximity to workers on foot.  The risk of collision has just increased by this simple occurrence.

When you look at that in the context of already high-risk sectors that use weighing systems, like waste and recycling, the potential for safety improvement seems more valid.  When reading the Health & Safety Executive’s accident figures for the waste sector for 2018, it works out that 600 non-fatal work-related collisions were reported (who knows how many weren’t), and three people lost their lives after being struck by a vehicle. If that can be further reduced, then we are succeeding in our purpose.

Therefore, the aim of using on board weighing systems is to reduce the amount of vehicle movement on a site, thereby minimising the collision risk with people walking around. Having an accurate onboard weighing system can streamline the efficiency of that process, reduce vehicle movement, time, money and collision potential.

Conversely, if the vehicle is overloaded, and it goes on the public highway with too big a cargo, a hazard is created should some of it fall off onto the highway. Accurate weighing while loading eliminates that specific risk.

The benefits aren’t just about safety either; apart from the fact that the weighing systems are extremely accurate and correct every time, their application enables ‘green’, cost-effective practices.  No overloading reduces excessive tyre and part wear and tear, saving money on auto parts. More importantly it’s not adding to accelerated tyre dust generation, as we now know is part of the microplastic problem.

Using accurate weighing systems also prevents underloading which improves fuel efficiency by eliminating repeat trips to the weighbridge. Similarly, it positively impacts cycle times, making them more efficient and productive.

So, SiteZone Productivity is not just an interesting new business move for us, it’s one that’s honouring our safety ethos, is friendly to business owners and the environment. It’s benefit just isn’t as obvious as an RFID system that flashes, makes noise and vibrates when a collision is imminent.  Yet, it aims to hit collision risk right at the start by eliminating the opportunity to create it in the first place.

Of course, it also creates another opportunity; to work with a long-standing industry ally. It strengthens a good relationship.  That’s another significant part of the SiteZone Safety ethos – collaboration. As you know, I strongly feel that only by working together with like-minded people, collecting good intelligence, and listening to feedback, that we make a positive difference to our end-users’ lives. It has stood us in good stead so far, and long may it continue.