14 May 2016

« PROXIPI DETECTS THE INVISIBLE »

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Karen DE BOECK
Plant Manager Valomac
SITA Belgium
Why are you interested in systems that prevent collisions between vehicles and pedestrians?
K.D.B: Safety at SITA Groupe Suez Environnement is a highly important thing, especially because unfortunately, again each year, we have fatal accidents on our sites, and in a large majority of cases, these are accidents between vehicles and pedestrians.

 

Have you already had recorded accidents on your Valomac site?
K.D.B: No, fortunately never. But we have nearly had tragic events happen several times… However, for a long time now, we have already put into place many preventative measures, like a traffic plan, a speed limit and even cameras at the rear of our vehicles. But, these provisions were not enough.

 

What are these events?
K.D.B: These are our “dangerous areas”… our stocks, our cubicles, our walls with blind spots… where pedestrians and vehicles work near each other.

 

How did you discover the PROXIPI collision prevention system?
K.D.B: Everything comes from feedback of experiences from certain neighbouring companies, which have also equipped themselves with prevention devices. We have all made the same observation: they ended up disconnecting their detection systems after a few months, because there were too many false alarms… This led us to look for other solutions. It was then that our Prevention Advisor spoke to us about Proxipi…

 

On what criteria did you determine that PROXIPI was the solution which was suitable for your needs and, in particular, suitable for your “dangerous areas”?
K.D.B: Firstly, our specifications made us adopt a system which stays reliable under many settings, and in particular, in a metal environment, as on our Valomac site, we have metal walls, but also metal waste stocks. Then, our problem was not being seen. We did not want a system which recognises a pedestrian in the driver’s field of vision, even if they were 10 metres away. What we needed, was a system which could “see” behind walls, beyond blind spots… in places where the pedestrian is invisible to the driver… Finally, we wanted to avoid our neighbours’ pitfalls, and having to stop running the system, because of negative reactions from our staff.

 

Has PROXIPI answered all those requirements?
K.D.B: Indeed, it has. Also, we have absolutely observed that Proxipi detects the invisible, it was really important in our case. But, before fully validating the solution, we tested it. We agreed with Mr Gilles VAQUIN to put into place a 6-month “Pilot”. The test, having been very conclusive, we adopted the solution for the long term.

 
According to you, why is PROXIPI so popular among drivers?
K.D.B: In my opinion, one of the great benefits of the Proxipi solution, is that it alerts both the potentially-threatened pedestrian and the driver of the vehicle. This two-way alarm plays a significant role in drivers accepting the system, as hardly any drivers agree that responsibility should lie solely on their shoulders. Therefore, they really like the fact that the Proxipi system makes the pedestrian responsible, as well as themselves. Additionally, the alarm for the driver is adjustable. We have opted for a quite intense visual alarm and a rather weak sound alarm. Thus, the driver is not hassled by an additional sound alarm, as in our vehicles’ pressurised cockpits, these alarm devices are quite numerous. It is all of these functionalities, which have led to our drivers being on board with the Proxipi solution.

 

And what about pedestrians?
K.D.B: For pedestrians, accepting the solution is a lot easier, as they have understood very quickly that the pedestrian badge increases their “protection”. If they themselves have not been close to colliding with a vehicle, they have, however, already felt the imposing threat of their large bucket of more than 3 metres… So, we have simply implemented internal provisions to inform all categories of pedestrians, who are likely to enter the site. For example, we have set up internal signage, reminding pedestrians that it is compulsory to wear their badge, as well as how to use it correctly.

 

After more than one year using the PROXIPI system, how would you assess it?
K.D.B: We wanted an additional collision prevention system to fill certain gaps in our device that is in place, and I can say that we have found it! I have a very personal experience of how the Proxipi technology works, and how effective it is. This came in the initial months of the Pilot test, during a metal quality control, which I carried out in a cubicle. A cubicle is a type of concrete hollow block, hardly wider than a bucket, but very deep. Turning the back to the cubicle’s entrance, I tested the material placed right at the bottom in front of me… The Proxipi badge that I was wearing started to vibrate and alert me. I returned and there, I saw, at the entrance of the cubicle, the vehicle with the bucket lifted, full of metal ready to be tipped out. The driver could not see me, because of the bucket, which obstructed their field of vision, but he stopped and ended up identifying me, as he too had been alerted. Since that day, I have been convinced of Proxipi’s effectiveness.

 

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