New Alert System Helps Prevent Forklift-Pedestrian Collisions

(Courtesy: Ted McGrath)

(Courtesy: Ted McGrath)

Imagine you are driving your forklift through your workplace and approaching a blind corner when suddenly a warning light flashes as your forklift tells you, “Look out! Person near you!”

Talking vehicles aren’t just science fiction fantasy or something out of TV’s “Knight Rider”. It’s real technology available right now that’s designed to help prevent collisions between forklifts and pedestrians in the workplace.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 80% of all forklift accidents involve a pedestrian. So finding innovative new ways to increase awareness in the warehouse, manufacturing facility, or other places where forklifts operate can only help improve your operation and avoid forklift-pedestrian collisions.

The BodyGuard i-Tag System

The BodyGuard i-Tag system uses radio frequency technology to notify forklift operators when pedestrians are in the area.

An i-Tag detection unit is mounted in the forklift’s cab. i-Tags are then worn by pedestrians — either on lanyards or mounted into hard hats — and any time the unit detects an i-Tag within the forklift’s exclusion zone, it automatically activates the audio and visual alarms.

There also are vehicle sensors that detect other vehicles within a detection zone of up to 164 feet.

There’s also an optional vibrator alarm that can shake the forklift operator’s seat to notify them a pedestrian is nearby — which can be helpful in workplaces that are loud.

Prevents the Most Common Collision Causes

When forklifts collide with pedestrians, it’s usually because the driver isn’t aware that other workers are in the area. This lack of awareness can be aggravated by driver fatigue, not complying with standard operating procedures, poor operator visibility, adverse environmental conditions, poor facility design, and even negligence.

But the i-Tag system increases driver awareness without interfering with their normal duties. It simply provides another layer of safety for the operation.

Because the system is automated, there can be no false alarms. The operator’s forklift will warn them in a clear audible human voice and visual alert whenever a collision is possible.

Works through Walls

The radio signals emitted by the i-Tags can easily pass through walls and around corners, providing the forklift driver with a 360-degree detection zone. The exclusion zone can be set to be up to 16 feet through a Bluetooth link to a smartphone or other device.

The system can be installed on any forklift in just a few minutes and requires no programming or calibration. The audible alert volume is adjustable so it can be turned up louder in noisy work environments.

The Cab Alert unit also tracks the last 6,000 i-Tag and/or vehicle detection events, along with system diagnostic messages.

The i-Tags themselves are battery operated and have a useful life of between 1 and 2 years. The battery condition of the i-Tags is stored along with each detection record.

The system can reduce the risk of accidents, near misses, and fatalities between people, mobile plant, light vehicles, and fixed plant.



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