Tragically there are a significant number of injuries and deaths which are caused by vehicles backing up and running into someone. Backing vehicles and equipment are a serious occupational hazard. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that, of the 443 struck-by fatalities at road construction sites between 2003 and 2010, 143 cases involved a vehicle or mobile equipment backing up.
While some back over accidents are difficult to avoid, there are some steps that can be taken to minimize the probability of them happening. Creating operating procedures are a good step in accident avoidance. These procedures should address how to work safely and list best practices to follow when working near vehicles and other equipment.
Working at night comes with its own set of hazards and special safety procedures are necessary. Among other special considerations for night time operations should be the use of high visibility apparel.
Attention can also be focused on the work environment itself, designing the worksites to minimize or eliminate the need for backing vehicles and equipment.
Before work begins, vehicle and equipment operators need to inspect their machinery for any issues. Ensure everything, including mirrors and windows are clear, everything should be clear and in good working order. If something is found to be defective, remove the vehicle or equipment from service until repairs are made.
Operators should become familiar with a vehicle’s blind spots. If you have a designated spotter and you lose contact with your spotter for any reason, immediately stop work.
Workers on foot near backing vehicles also need to be aware of vehicle blind spots. Focus is a critical part of safety and workers on foot around large vehicles should always stay alert for the sound of reversing alarms.
These are just a few safety tips that can help avoid the tragedy of a back over accident. The key to safety in the work environment is communication and staying alert.