The BAM Construction, Plant and H&S teams recognised there was an issue around exclusion zones on site. Exclusion zones and restricted zones are commonly used in the construction industry to keep people away from high risk activities including falling objects or moving plant and machinery. Typically, these zones are denoted by pedestrian barriers with statutory signage fixed on the barriers.
In practice, BAM have found that barriers and signage can get misinterpreted (thinking the zone is no longer required) or ignored (thinking the risk of being in the zone is not significant), meaning that a person may walk into an exclusion zone or restricted zone, and therefore be exposed to harm.
To find a solution to this problem, BAM’s Plant division worked in partnership with Bull Products to develop the ExclusionZone Alarm. The ExclusionZone Alarm is a wireless beacon that flashes a red light when activated remotely by a key fob. One or more ExclusionZone Alarms can be fixed on barriers around the zone, to send a clear message to site personnel when the high-risk activity is in operation, and to reinforce the importance of complying with the zone because of this additional highly visible control measure.
Bull Products developed a couple of prototype systems for BAM Plant before they were happy with the system that could trialled on this site. The ExclusionZone Alarm was set up on a CantiDeck and was activated when the CantiDeck was in use for lifting.
The BAM Construction team at Helston Community College project, recognising the benefits, used the ExclusionZone Alarm during installation of structural steel and pre-cast concrete planks. The ExclusionZone Alarm was activated when lifting operations commenced, and this reinforced the message to other site personnel that the restricted zone was active, and that they were not permitted to enter the zone.
BAM use the Exclusion Zone system supplementary to barriers and statutory signage as the alarm should only be activated when the risk is present. They have found that the exclusion zone alarm is most effective when the exclusion zone is either in intermittent use throughout the working day or where a zone may have several access points
“People know that an exclusion zone must not be entered, but people are people! We switch off – this helps to reinforce the message and remind operatives of the importance of staying away”
Monitor report. BAM Construction Ltd - Western. Cornwall. December 2019.