From construction to logistics to refuse services and travel, vehicles play an important role in operations and infrastructure across the country. Whether driving on-road or operating machinery on-site, workplace safety is always a huge concern and number one priority.

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, motor vehicle crashes are the 1st or 2nd leading cause of death in every major industry group. In 2017, 1,299 U.S. workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road died in a work-related crash.

One of the most prevalent causes of workplace injuries and fatalities is being struck by a reversing vehicle.

Reversing incidents account for a quarter of deaths in the workplace and 90% of these occur off-road in loading bays, parking lots, quarry sites and warehouses. The rear blind spot is a huge problem regardless of the vehicle or machine and is one of the main causes of reversing incidents.

A Heritage of Safety

When Brigade’s founder, Chris Hanson-Abbott O.B.E. introduced the first traditional ‘beep beep’ reversing alarm to the UK and Europe in the late 1970s, the potential for these alarms to save lives was quickly recognized. However, over time, they have been shown to have various inherent issues. These include noise pollution and the associated disturbances, and the overall safety credentials of the traditional ‘beep beep’ system, which can be unreliable, confusing, and often ignored.

The Safe and Sound Alternative

Brigade recognized these issues and worked hard to find a solution. Research led to a quieter and safer alternative in the form of ‘white sound’.

Created using broadband technology, Brigade’s bbs-tek® White Sound® back-up alarm emits an ‘ssh-ssh’ sound, similar to breaking waves.  It's highly directional, gentler on the ear and easier for pedestrians to pinpoint. It is estimated that this innovation has helped to save thousands of lives since being introduced in 2001. It is also currently the only reversing alarm to receive a coveted Quiet Mark award from The Noise Abatement Society – the only international mark of approval for low-noise technology.

The sound from bbs-tek® subsides quickly outside the danger zone, meaning the alarms do not cause noise nuisance. Furthermore, with its multi-frequency range, White Sound® alarms can operate effectively at five decibels lower than a conventional beeping alarm, making them approved for night-time deliveries.

Reversing Alarms in Action

One company which has benefitted from fitting Brigade’s range of vehicle reversing alarms to its fleet of concrete mixing trucks is Lafarge.

As well as bbs-tek®, Lafarge also installed Brigade’s award-winning Backeye®360 – an intelligent camera monitoring system that eliminates blind spots by providing a complete surround view of all four sides of a vehicle.

While ‘beep beep’ reversing alarms are still widely used across the globe, we are encouraging operators to consider replacing these wherever possible with the improved multi-frequency version and support our mission for safer roads and workplaces.

Reprinted with Permission. Brigade-Electronics June 2020

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