With UK construction in the UK going from strength to strength and 50,000 new homes being built this year, the economic outlook for the industry is looking extremely positive. Here, Emily Hardy, marketing manager of Brigade Electronics UK, explains why worksite safety for the industry has never been more important.
As the UK emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, the construction industry is expected to form an important part of the country’s economic recovery, with housebuilding playing a key role. The government has announced it plans to ‘build, build’ build’ and hopes to reach their goal of completing 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the decade.
However, statistics show that construction is still one of the most hazardous occupations with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reporting 40 workplace fatalities in construction in 2019/2020. Non-fatal injuries are also a real risk. Accidents often involve heavy machinery and vehicles, which have numerous blind spots that limit operators’ visibility, and greatly increase the danger of collision with those working on the ground.
With the number of construction sites increasing, more people than ever will be working with, and around, construction vehicles and mobile machinery. It is vital that every precaution is taken to prioritise the safety of all those on site.
The introduction of commercial vehicle safety systems, such as cameras, alarms, sensors and vehicle CCTV, have revolutionised the driver and operator experience. These include Brigade’s best-selling Backeye360, which provides a real-time 360 degree surround view of a vehicle in a single image. This system provides the driver with instant visibility of the numerous blind spots found on large vehicles, allowing operators to quickly see and react to hazards on the ground. This is especially useful on construction sites where drivers are regularly required to perform low-speed manoeuvres in challenging situations.
Providing another layer of protection for those working in close proximity to heavy vehicles, the brand-new ZoneSafe RFID Detection System uses detection tags worn by workers on foot which communicate with vehicle mounted antennas. Simultaneous alerts warn both ground workers and vehicle operators of each other’s approach, allowing drivers and those on foot to work together safely.
Reversing vehicles present a significant risk to construction workers. HSE statistics reveal that nearly a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur while reversing. Currently, ‘beep beep’ style reversing alarms are still used widely around the world. However, white sound reversing alarms provide a much safer alternative. These alarms emit a multi frequency ‘shh-shh’ sound which is more easily detectable by pedestrians and ground workers, allowing them to easily locate where and in what direction a vehicle is reversing – even while wearing ear defenders or working in noisy conditions.
As the country prepares for a building boom, construction companies should ensure that worksite safety remains the top priority for everyone concerned. While technology alone will not solve this issue, it will certainly go a long way towards mitigating hazards and preventing deaths and injuries.