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Regardless of how busy our lives get, it’s always important to take a few minutes to find out what trends are currently being hinted in our industries and to discover some of the innovative and beneficial practices that some of our colleagues are already putting into practice.

That’s why today we’d like to discuss the impressive progress currently being made in some of the most important industries in the world regarding the traffic of vehicles within facilities and some of the latest proposals that have been put forward in this regard.

 

First, let’s talk about some of the companies that are expecting both their workers and visitors to park the vehicles with their “back to the curb”.

 

Why?

 

Because in case of emergency the vehicle is ready to leave quickly, and no manoeuvre is necessary.

 

We can also mention another recommended practice applied by companies with vehicle circulation routes within their industrial or manufacturing premises – the installation of a portable warning light on the vehicles that enter the facilities so that these can easily warn both pedestrians and forklift operators circulating around the place.

 

At the same time, we are seeing with increased frequency how some large companies are placing speed cameras and video cameras inside their own facilities. This is being developed precisely with the objective of ensuring that both workers and visitors in their facilities respect the speed and the driving guidelines that are indicated.

Similarly, some industries are currently providing parking for their workers and/or visitors outside their industrial premises – just before entering the site- and then transporting people in specially prepared company vehicles with trained drivers. In addition, those who visit the place for the first time are obliged to undergo – if necessary – a minimum training on the precautions to be taken when circulation around the facility.

 

Claitec has developed a range of products that complement these tendencies to prevent accidents between vehicles and pedestrians, such as our Pedestrian Warning System (PAS) or the Pedestrian Cross Safety Solution (PCS), among others.

You can find out more about all of them here.

 

It is often mistakenly believed that industrial work is inevitably associated with high accident risks at work. Without ignoring the nature of the work in industrial or manufacturing areas and without knowing the power or qualities of the machinery and the substances that are handled in those spaces, we can safely affirm that risk control is increasingly becoming more sophisticated. Every day we are better prepared to make our work space a safe area, where prevention prevails over the unforeseen.

 

In this context, today we want to discuss the concept of “Near Miss”.

 

This idea arises precisely from the observation of the work routine in industrial spaces. Very often, workers “almost” have an accident or “almost” suffer from some type of injury or fatality without the company even being aware of these potentially dangerous incidents. These situations are not recorded, nor are there any actions taken in response or to prevent them from happening again – Just a “very lucky, mate!” or a thanks to the universe for not having to endure a very serious misfortune.

However, it’s our responsibility to act as soon as we see any of these signs.

We must react when “potential accidents” situations start to occur because these “near misses” are, precisely, risk indicators. These “near misses” are warning lights forewarning us about the location of a potential accident.

That’s exactly what “Near Miss” is all about – registering “potentials” and acting swiftly.

 

Some of our clients are already applying a methodology of work based on the Near Miss scenario, and report very good results, as do other industries that have shown important international advances in this area. Even the US National Occupational Safety Council is working hard on this concept, stating that for every 300 “almost” work-related accidents, 1 ends up in a serious injury.

The same institution defines a “near-miss” as “an unplanned event that did not result in injury or damage but had the potential to cause them.” Therefore, we must encourage all employees to report on the risky situations that may have arisen in the industry, and train our area managers to pay special attention to those aspects. In addition, we must be professionals in recording, monitoring and acting against such events – the benefits we can expect from applying this system to our safety measures will be broad and of pivotal importance for all teams.

Applying the Near Miss system is certainly a way to listen to the risk signals that occur.

 

We encourage you to do so and we believe – as some of our customers are already confirming – that this method complements perfectly well with the systems already we develop and offer at Claitec: https://claitec.com/en/products/

 

Our daily work in the industry requires us to work seriously and professionally in the field of occupational safety. We must be attentive to all aspects of our work and continually add to our efforts to avoid accidents and provide better conditions to everyone operating in the area.

However, we can and should rely on the latest developments brought about by today’s technological advancements. Thanks to the work of all our specialists we are also able to reduce risks and implement new prevention tools closer to those who coexist each day with the intense operation of industries of the most diverse types.

 

Claitec has also developed a new product that responds to the requests we have received on more than one occasion from our customers. It’s a system that gets activated when a forklift approaches a door, warning the driver about whether the door is closed or ajar, just in case the operator has not noticed it in a timely manner.

 

When a forklift approaches a door, either closed or ajar, a light and / or acoustic warning is sent to the driver, having previously installed a bidirectional Tz2 Tag on the door and the PAS solution on the forklift.

Thus, if the door is closed or ajar, the Tz2 Tag sends a signal through the PAS system to the approaching forklift. The PAS system immediately turns on the light beacon and / or the acoustic mode alarm warning the driver and alerting him or her to the situation. And, when the door is fully open, the  Tz2 tag stops sending the signal.

 

We felt the development of this product was necessary after some customers reported accidents at work caused by workers who had failed to notice some doors ajar or closed. It’s not uncommon for the worker to assume that some transit points had to be cleared, concentrating on the load being transported or paying attention to the dynamics of the environment, and ends up colliding with the industrial doors or gates. We are convinced Claitec’s new development puts an end to this type of accidents.

In today’s blog post we’d like to introduce a new device developed by Claitec to offer Smart safety solutions to industrial workers, always taking into account the ins and outs of their daily work dynamics.

 

The T-10 Mobile Inhibitor is a device carefully placed at the back of the protection key (T-10) carried by forklift drivers, to prevent its detection. This allows the operator to drive the forklift safely while keeping the Pedestrian Detection System active in order to avoid accidents with pedestrians circulating in the work area and nearby spaces.

In addition, when using the mobile inhibitor, the driver can leave the truck and perform picking or merchandise control operations, being sure that his Pedestrian Alert system tag is protecting him from the moment he steps out of the forklift.

 

A perfect blend of safety and practicality

 

The driver inhibitor guarantees the correct functioning of the anti-collision system, as it allows drivers to operate forklifts without interrupting the PAS solution. However, it’s important to leave “free access” so that the anti-collision system works without any problems.

 

We should emphasize that Claitec has developed the new T-10 mobile inhibitor based on the experience of our customers and users, and we’ve refined it with some of the strong elements we’ve been observing and detecting in everyday industrial operations.

 

One of the most frequently reported situations was that drivers were getting off the forklifts and leaving the T10 tag inside the inhibitor. Often, they also leave the truck without the safety tag. This prevented them to receive the appropriate warnings from the detection system thus leaving them vulnerable to accidents.

 

With this new development, the mobile inhibitor is placed on the back of the driver’s T-10 protection key with a connection installed inside the truck. This way the protection keyring is not detected, and the pedestrian detection system activated allows drivers to circulate safely. Likewise, when the operator leaves the forklift, the inhibitor is automatically released and the person is again detectable by the PAS system.

 

Thanks to the endless technological developments currently taking place around us we are seeing thousands of new improvements that help us better perform our daily work –  new tools appear, constant advances are made and processes are being simplified and becoming more efficient. And these are only some of the multiple benefits that the implementations of the latest technologies hold for us!

However, we also know that the inclusion of these developments in our processes requires a professional an orderly implementation to achieve the best possible results in a harmonious fashion.

 

That’s why we’d like to discuss here a topic many industrialists are pondering today:

 

How do we make driver-less vehicles coexist with forklifts and pedestrians?

 

First of all, we must bear in mind that the so-called AGV (Automatic Guided Vehicles) are already a reality. These machines are being presented as a very efficient tool of increased use in the industry. There’s no denying that being able to automate the movement of goods inside a Factory by using this driverless system is extremely useful.

That said, it’s important to remember that these systems present new challenges like accidents and risky situations between the driverless vehicles and forklifts or pedestrian. In addition, there are several everyday situations that also will affect the transfer of VFA by the factory or industry.

 

Experience shows that AGVs often cross paths with pedestrians or forklifts, forcing its anti-collision sensors to stop automatically. To resume driving, the vehicle must recalculate the route and redefine its procedures, wasting time and having its productivity negatively affected.

 

A possible solution to this problem is already being applied by several of our customers who use the Claitec PAS System to detect forklifts and pedestrians and prevent AGVs from activating their safety functions and coming to a halt. This system detects the movement and alerts pedestrians and forklifts to move away or stop. It can also even produce a slight pause in the AGV to give way without having an excessive impact on its efficiency.

This is usually done by placing the PAS System in the AGV and providing pedestrians and forklifts with tags which activate a security warning if both sides are approaching.

AGVs generally have all kinds of protections, be it cameras or various accident-preventing sensors but complementing them with the PAS system helps tackle the loss of productivity caused by their constant stopping and starting.

 

Are you keen to find out more about this solution?

Visit this address: claitec.com/en/portfolio/pedestrian-alert-system-pas/

 

The intensity of industrial work poses constant risks for us.

But instead of deterring us, this only challenges us to look for more complete solutions and comprehensive responses to the threats and demands that arise around us.

That’s why, in this post, we would like to talk to you about one of the most important developments that is now being applied in several industries and manufacturing centres: the hazardous areas control.

We must conceive this tool as an assistant that works to protect us from some of the great risks we face as industrial operators. We refer to this system as an “assistant”, because it’s a technology capable of helping us even when we are unable to react appropriately, ourselves.

 

Hazardous area control (HA) helps us prevent the falling of people to pits or conveyor belts. It also avoids accidents in presses, crushers and compactors and allows perimetral detections in pits – all of them, risks which probably sound very familiar if you work in the recycling sector and, more specifically, in paper and cardboard recuperators, but also in other sectors such as forestry, agriculture and the like.

 

The core of this system consists on having operators carry electronic key tags and installing detector antennas in all machines – and their respective conveyor belts – with adjustable ranges between 1 and 5 meters. When the person who carries a tag falls on a belt, either as a result of an accident, after having been hit or having fainted, the machine automatically detects the proximity of the device and stops its operation, this preventing a very serious accident.

 

It is also an easy-to-deploy system – all you need is a personal key ring, detector antennas for the machines, a test-tag, a control box and a key ring antenna. This is how Claitec has already installed this solution in more than 100 recovery plants, and we continue to receive numerous queries about this new system.

In addition, the system stands out for its durability and robustness. It’s not affected by interferences between antennas and metal structures. The detection of the key ring is achieved in any position even when the material is being covered.

 

Employees working in industrial and/or construction spaces face a number of daily – and potentially very threatening – risks. To avoid damages or accidents, it´s important to emphasise on prevention and constantly think about the best ways to solve those pitfalls. It´s vital we all work on creating a responsible and safe work environment for all employees.

Within this broad range of possibilities presented by the routine of industrial work, there´s an issue we´d like to address today: should a pedestrian come across a forklift, who would have priority? How do we proceed in such cases to prevent accidents?

 

The first thing to keep in mind is that industrial zones should provide designated spaces for both pedestrians-workers and vehicular traffic. Ideally, these should be separated zones especially set up for these purposes, so as to avoid crossings and to reduce risks. If such spaces are available, the pedestrian must always walk through them, whether on sidewalks or signposted roads, and avoid areas exclusively dedicated to machinery.

It´s not always possible to establish these separated areas, and that´s when the risks increase in frequency and danger becoming a matter of concern we must follow very closely. In this case, our recommendation is that pedestrians should circulate along the left side of the alley, except when there´s a specific risk in that area.

Besides intersections, it´s important to walk on areas especially designated for that purpose, be it a zebra or a signalled pedestrian crossing. By doing so, the pedestrian will become a lot more visible to the forklift driver circulating, and avoid greater exposure to risks.

In addition, special care must be taken when traveling in groups in industrial sites or areas: large groups should always be avoided; you should try not to take up too much space when walking in groups; it´s advisable to walk in small separate groups of two or three people to avoid risks or dangerous situations.

 

Most experts in accident prevention seem to give priority to forklifts and industrial machinery when in a crosswalk with pedestrians, since these are more limited in mobility and vision. It´s easier for a pedestrian to allow access to the vehicle, taking into account the difficulties involved in manoeuvring these type of trucks in enclosed areas or when moving large loads.

 

Our recommendation is that if the rules are not clear, you try to apply the same criteria as when you are circulating in the streets of your city. Establish the same codes, adapt them to the workspace and make them clear for everyone working there at any time.

 

Global trends show the growing importance of investing in risk prevention as a benefit for both workers and warehouses. Companies are starting to notice this is a smart way to attract talent to their ranks. In addition, public opinion in general has its eyes on the ethical practices of businesses, and the treatment of their workers.

 

Beyond the culture of the company – usually closer to concepts such as mateship, work environment, development opportunities, etc., – safety is a crucial issue for a worker to feel cared for. After all, the place of work is where the majority of us spend the most part of our days.

 

Let’s review some of the practices that are being observed more and more today.

 

Transport within the company

 

1- Installation of speed ​​cameras

As a more conventional measure, companies are installing speed cameras and camcorders to ensure drivers respect the speed marked at all times.

 

2- It´s becoming compulsory to park with the back to the kerb

We have already talked about this on previous occasions – parking with the back to the kerb helps decrease the risk of accidents. Evacuations become more agile thanks to the greater visibility of drivers who can now leave immediately without having to reverse.

 

3- It´s becoming compulsory to install signal lights

As a way to reduce collision risks, companies are forcing drivers to install portable signal lights to make them more visible to other drivers, operators and pedestrians.

 

 

Awareness raising

While companies might be applying their greatest efforts to implement formal measures and controls to prevent occupational hazards, the reality is that the best care comes from the worker him or herself. Many companies have already understood that, and if the worker is fully aware of their safety, the need to implement formal controls and processes is greatly reduced.

 

4- Installation of Mirrors

Another common practice is to place a mirror in the entrance of the company or factory, with a message that says “This person is the main person in charge of your security”, or “This is the most important person in charge of the security in the plant”.

 

5- Other forms of awareness

Other forms of awareness include the broadcasting of videos that encourage the care of one’s own health-and others. Logically, these videos cannot warn of all the potential risks that exist in the workplace, but they can certainly inspire those who see it to adopt a defensive position before the existing risks.

 

Many use the same videos to transmit a certain culture and position themselves as a company that cares about the health and safety of its members.

 

Any means is valid when the end is the welfare of the workers. Companies must be creative in identifying which medium they can manage better and will have a greater impact. Many use the creation of a web portal that includes interactive materials and tasks, thus encouraging workers to learn about the topic of safety and receive additional contents.

 

 

 

 

In Claitec we collaborate with universities and vocational training centers to give opportunities to the future generations.

This year we were very happy to have had Cédric Esteba in the R+D department in training, contributing his knowledge in Multiplatform Application Development.

 

From Claitec we wish that after your university education, the take off your career, it’ll equal or higher than the experience of the wind tunnel.

 

Cedric, it’s been a pleasure to have you on board Claitec’s team!

 

Claitec has been awarded with a Phase 1 funding in the framework of the H2020 SME Instrument programme in order to develop new industrial safety systems using UWB (Ultra-Wide Band) Technology.

 

The Project called “Launching working environment safety systems based on UWB connectivity aimed at the 4.0 INDUSTRY” has been one of the proposals selected from the more than 2.500 initiatives submitted in the February 15th, 2017 Call.

 

This Support from the EU Research Programme will allow Claitec to accelerate the development of new safety devices and prepare for Phase 2.

 

We are very happy with this acknowledgment from the EU funding programme. We are focused on developing new safety solutions using new technologies. This support is very encouraging for the team.

Ricard Chetrit, Managing Director of Claitec

 

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