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UK: Virtual exclusion zone technology has been developed by asset tracking and industrial internet-of-things company Pathfindr and railway contractor QTS Group to help protect track workers and people in other hazardous environments.

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Zonr uses GPS tracking and ultra-wideband technology to locate workers and risks, and create a dynamic virtual barrier around the hazards. An alarm alerts workers when a vehicle or other hazard comes close, or if they step into a high-risk area, guiding them through a workplace to avoid potential incidents.

The exclusion zones can easily be reconfigured by moving the position of sensors. All setup is completed through a mobile app, and site operators can access real-time data about incursions, enabling interventions, as well as data to improve overall health and safety processes.

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‘While all sites have health and safety measures and policies in place to protect workers, they rely on human accuracy to identify hazards in fast-moving environments — and we’re all fallible’, said Ben Sturgess, Chief Technology Officer at Pathfindr.

’Zonr has been designed to keep people and machines apart, so that workers can focus on doing their jobs efficiently, knowing they’ll be altered to a hazard. No technology will eliminate the need for continual vigilance, but Zonr reduces the risk.’

QTS Group Managing Director Alan McLeish said ‘our live sites are dynamic, and no two scenarios are ever identical, which means that ensuring health and safety is an ongoing challenge. We’ve combined our in-depth understanding of the complex ways that railway sites operate with Pathfindr’s smart tech expertise to create a solution which has the potential to have a major impact on the way site safety risk is managed.’