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New System Visibly Improves Operator Safety

PRCSH23 23rd February 2010

Cooper Specialised Handling (Cooper SH), the UK and Ireland’s national distributor of Konecranes lift trucks, has released details of new technology which the company claims will bring significant benefits to terminal and yard safety.

NearGuard is a new safety alert system that locates both the direction and proximity of objects in and around hazardous operating areas by using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.

“Regrettably, there have been fatalities in the UK whereby the operator has been unaware that individuals were too close to the machines,” says David Cooper, managing director of Cooper SH. “The NearGuard system brings a whole new level to operator safety; one that could prevent fatalities from happening again.”

Every lift truck can now be fitted with four sensors, one in each corner, which will be continually searching for RFID tags. The tags can be fitted to numerous subjects including compulsory clothing (e.g. high visibility garments, hard hats) or placed on- board other mobile equipment operating in close proximity to the lift trucks.

Once a tag is located, the NearGuard RFID actives a radar-like screen that gives drivers a clear visual indication of the direction and proximity of any RFID tag within range of a machine.

A combination of alarm sounds and coloured screens are used to alert the driver. Any tags within a range of seven to 20 meters will warn operators by audible alarm. However, if a tag should encroach within the red zone – that is closer than seven meters to the machine, a second audible alarm will sound and the proximity colour changes from yellow to red to warn the operator of imminent danger.

David Cooper continues: “This new technology can also be tailored to sensitive height areas, alerting the driver of too low operating heights, thus affording an early warning system against potential collisions.

“The NearGuard system also fully interfaces with the Konecranes Fleet Management System that records all near-misses to be logged and available in real-time over the internet. Where configured, the machine can even send a text to supervisory management to advise of a near-miss,” added David.

The system can be fitted to new machines as well as retro-fitted to any Konecranes machine that is supplied with the MDL on-board computer and control system.