Connecting Industries Worldwide

Safety in the logistics industry under the spotlight

Ordering goods online for home delivery is now a firmly established method of shopping throughout the Western world. In 2016, 65 billion parcels were delivered to homes worldwide.

Clothing and footwear account for the largest online volume of sales, while the rise in online food delivery has generated more than $82 million this year alone. Consumers cite convenience and speed of delivery as their main incentives for shopping online.

The level of orders and a subsequent number of delivery vehicles on the roads is only likely to increase. For the logistics industry, this rise in online shopping means business is booming, but it places increased pressure on services. Companies within the sector are often forced to take on extra staff, especially freelance drivers and distribution workers, to keep up with demand.

The promise of next-day deliveries only adds to the pressure. With millions of vans, light and heavy goods vehicles on the roads and many drivers under pressure to deliver within specified time slots, the potential for accidents has never been higher.

In addition to the potential danger to people’s lives, the costs incurred from accidents are an issue to businesses. Rising insurance premiums and compensation claims, along with the costs incurred when vehicles are off the road or being repaired can hit companies hard.

Fortunately, experts have developed state-of-the-art technology, proven to help drivers avoid costly collisions and keeping passengers and other road users safe.

Blind spots can create particularly dangerous situations for drivers, including reversing accidents due to the rear blind spot, and cyclist and pedestrian collisions due to nearside blind spots. Negotiating narrow residential streets and reversing into unfamiliar spaces amid traffic congestion can create hazards for even the most experienced of delivery drivers.

Camera systems can help. Brigade Electronics’ best-selling Backeye®360, for example, is an intelligent four-camera system designed to eliminate blind spots. Unlike the onboard CCTV cameras of old, which required the driver to keep tabs on multiple screens, Backeye®360 provides the driver with a complete 360 degrees view of the vehicle in a single image.

The system combines images from ultra-wide angle cameras, resulting in a ‘bird’s-eye-view’ of the vehicle and the surrounding area. This is essential when manoeuvring, especially in urban areas, to reduce the risk of collisions with people and objects.

Reversing warning alarms can also benefit delivery drivers, helping to alert pedestrians, cyclists and other road users that a van is reversing. Brigade’s research has led to the introduction of bbs-tek®, a high-spec multi-frequency broadband alarm which emits an ‘ssh-ssh’ sound. This is gentle on the ear and can only be heard in the danger zone. Unlike traditional ‘beep beep’ alarms, these White Sound® alarms eliminate noise nuisance and are triggered automatically so require no driver training.

Meanwhile, introducing extra staff at the distribution centre creates a further risk of incidents occurring. As well as blind spot technology including reversing alarms and camera systems, rear sensors will give an audible and visual warning to the driver in case of a moving or stationary obstacle around the vehicle.

In many countries, delivery vehicles are the fastest growing traffic type. With home delivery becoming ever more popular, the risks to the public and employees on the roads, and workers in the depot, are likely to increase. Meanwhile, the costs to businesses associated with accidents will continue to rise. It’s clear that logistics companies can reap the benefits from investing in safety technology to keep their workers and members of the public free from harm and to prevent costly financial claims.