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April 3, 2014

Tips for Backing Up Vehicles Safely

CAUTION entering construction zone
As construction workers head back outside, these tips shared by the National Safety Council can help prevent a too-common worksite tragedy: workplace backover deaths.
In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional OSHA Office have involved struck-by vehicle accidents in the workplace. Struck-by injuries and fatalities commonly are caused by conventional traffic/passenger vehicles, forklifts and other moving, powered industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently began collecting specific information on these fatalities and determined that across the U.S., 79 backover deaths occurred on the job in 2011.
The following OSHA recommendations can help prevent backover accidents:
  • Spotters: Using a spotter has been proven to keep workers safe. However, spotters also are in danger of being hit by a backing vehicle.

  • Cameras: OSHA states that most vehicles can accommodate a camera to provide drivers with a view to the rear and other blind spots. When equipping vehicles with cameras, it is important to consider the environment operators work in. Some construction sites and mines may require more rugged cameras, and vehicles such as dump trucks may need two or more cameras to monitor blind spots.
  • Proximity detection systems: These systems use radar and ultrasonic technology to bounce a signal off an object. The system then alerts the vehicle operator with a visual or audio warning that an object is in the way.
  • Internal traffic control plan: Create a plan to coordinate the flow of moving equipment, workers and vehicles to help minimize the number of times workers and vehicles cross paths. According to OSHA, these plans can significantly reduce and even eliminate the need for vehicles to back up on a jobsite.

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