In response to the title of this blog, yes and no. Yes because they can be a valuable tool for protecting pedestrians in a warehouse environment that operates minimal safety procedures, but no in comparison with more advanced alternatives.
Proximity sensors are typically attached to material handling equipment (MHE) such as forklifts and activate a signal when an entity (a person or other MHE) is detected. While they do have the ability to recognise an entity, the sensor cannot distinguish if that individual is actually in a place of safety behind a guard rail. This creates the potential for false alarms, which can result in complacency on the part of a driver who might assume all is safe when it may not be.
Although some may argue that having a culture of false alarms is favourable over one where accidents are common, it is not the most effective option. Instead, there are warehouse safety solutions that not only prevent accidents but are designed so false alarms do not occur. So when an alarm is heard and seen there is a genuine safety threat. One such option is Location Aware Technology, which uses intelligent Wi-Fi to detect and accurately capture the position of people and MHE in the warehouse. This technology provides the clearest picture yet of who and what is moving in a warehouse to improve forklift safety and ensure a safer future for those on the floor, as well as peace of mind for those in charge of it.