Reduce the Chance of an Accident
Backing up and reverse motion are a leading cause of vehicle-related injuries. Planning, preventive measures, and training can greatly reduce the chance of a back over incident. Being struck by a piece of equipment or vehicle at a worksite or in a shopping center parking lot can be fatal. Below are some best practices to ensure safe backing and avoid being struck. Between 2011 & 2015, there were 804 construction fatalities; many individuals were struck by trucks, excavators, and loaders.
- Avoid the problem. Don’t back up if you have an alternative plan and your job site allows pull-through parking, or better yet, park vehicles off-site. Avoid backing up whenever an alternative exists.
- “First Move Forward”. When parking, be sure to pull in or back in where your first move when leaving is forward. Avoid backing out of parking.
- Use backup alarms. Have a buddy help you check the alarm during your daily equipment inspection. Backup alarms must be louder than surrounding noise. Whether or not OSHA requires a backup alarm on your particular vehicle or equipment, backup alarms save lives and should be installed and used as much as possible.
- Designate a spotter. Supervisors, be sure spotters are trained in proper hand signals to guide drivers. If the driver loses visual contact with the spotter, he must immediately stop the vehicle. To avoid confusion, only one spotter should give directions.
- Stay in view. Don’t walk out from behind vehicles materials or equipment in the path of someone backing. Avoid blind spots when directing and working around heavy equipment. If you are the operator, STOP if you lose sight of your coworker.
- Plan your job site and communicate your plan. Designate traffic flow, including areas in which vehicles may have to reverse. Review the plan at your daily tailgate meeting. Make sure all crew members wear high-visibility clothing. See attached circulation form to help document and sketch the system provided by the foreman.
- Use your mirrors and rear-mounted cameras if equipped. While not a substitute for complete visibility or spotters, mirrors & cameras greatly increase visibility. Make sure they are clean and adjusted.
- Heads Up! Do not use headphones while working onsite. Look up and wait to use your cell phone later.