OSHA’s View on Spotters
OSHA 1926.1408 states a spotter must:
- Dedicated to the task, who is in continuous contact with the operator.
- Be trained and equipped to identify the minimum clearance distance from objects & hazards.
- Be positioned to see hazards & effectively gauge the clearance distance.
- Able to communicate directly with the operator.
- Provide timely information to the operator so that the required clearance distance or avoidance can be maintained.
When do we need a spotter?
When it comes to safety, a spotter is necessary for heavy equipment and vehicles to move safely when the operator cannot see the pending hazard.
- Spotters should be used when lifting or moving materials with heavy equipment.
- Maneuvering near, into, or inside buildings or other structures.
- Passing under or near overhead power lines.
- When in congested areas or physical hazards pose a risk of damage to our equipment and public or clients assets.
Having the courage and experience to keep utilities, equipment and personnel safe while excavating.
- Experienced, focused, knows, and understands his authority and responsibility.
- Is willing to STOP work. Has courage to do so.
- Maintain visual and verbal contact with the operator.
- Have hand signals & communication worked out with operator.
- Understands the color code of 811CO locate flags & marks.
- Is aware of below ground indications of utilities such as warning tape, sand & bedding, previously compacted soils, trash and debris.
- If the spotter has to leave the area then he has to notify operator and the task stops.
- Knows the emergency response plan and who to contact if the operator/foreman is unable to or cannot respond.
Ask another to help you back in vehicles and trailers in congested areas and around public & client facilities.
- Make sure the spotter and driver clearly understand each other’s hand signals and voice commands
- If unsure of an instruction or direction the driver is the STOP.
- Spotter to stay in view of the driver’s mirror and do not stand directly behind vehicle.
- Spotter is not to walk backwards behind vehicle.
- If driver loses sight of spotter stop immediately.