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How geofencing can increase worksite safety

A new white paper looks into the benefits of applying geofencing to sites to keep activity within defined zones

US safety nonprofit the National Safety Council (NSC) has released a new white paper, Advancing Workplace Safety with Location Geofencing, that looks into how geofencing can increase the safety of worksites.

Often integrated into existing safety technologies like proximity sensors, wearables and vehicle monitoring systems, location geofencing allows users to create virtual barriers around defined areas, such as construction sites or machine operating zones.

This enables real-time monitoring and alerts when workers enter or leave designated zones, enhancing their safety, NSC says. For example, when an object, like a worker or equipment, enters or exits the area, predetermined actions are triggered, such as logging the event, alerting workers of potential hazards, or disabling machinery.

With the aim of reducing workplace fatalities, NSC launched the Work to Zero initiative in 2019. In its latest white paper, it investigates the potential of geofencing in reducing the risk of serious incidents and fatalities (SIFs) in various industries.

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“Workers on active jobsites are often exposed to situations that pose a high risk for SIFs, including construction, vehicle-pedestrian interactions and heavy equipment operation,” NSC vice president of workplace strategy John Dony says.

“Acknowledging how this is a major concern for workers across many industries, this report provides invaluable insights into leveraging location geofencing technology to mitigate risks and help ensure employee wellbeing, which is the ultimate goal of the Work to Zero initiative.”

The white paper looks at the use of location geofencing in safety-sensitive industries, such as construction, logging and forestry, manufacturing and utilities. Some key benefits identified were:

  • Risk mitigation: The technology serves as an effective risk mitigation tool by alerting workers and supervisors of potential hazards, improving situational awareness and enabling two-way communication for workers
  • Enhanced worksite visibility: Geofencing increases worksite visibility, enabling data-informed decisions for site planning and safety measures
  • Improved efficiency: Automation of safety processes reduces the need for continuous human supervision, optimising resource allocation and safety management

While the report examines the benefits of location geofencing, some barriers to widespread adoption for employers include:

  • Privacy concerns: Worker concerns regarding data privacy and security must be addressed through transparent communication and strong data privacy policies
  • Resource investments: High initial capital and resource investments may hinder adoption, necessitating careful evaluation of the technology’s utility and integration capabilities
  • Technological limitations: Accuracy and reliability issues, as well as compatibility with existing systems, should be considered during the procurement process

The full white paper can be accessed at: www.nsc.org/faforms/work-to-zero-safety-technology

 

 

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