A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ®

June 18, 2014

New NIOSH Publication Can Help Prevent Road Construction Backover Injuries

please avoid blind spots
Vehicle safety signs remind
workers to use caution
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 962 workplace fatalities occurred at road construction sites from 2003-2010. Of those fatalities, 443 were due to workers being struck a vehicle or equipment, and 32 percent were caused by backing vehicles. To help combat the problem, NIOSH has developed a new Workplace Solutions document that addresses the issue in detail and gives recommendations for employers, workers and manufacturers.

Recommended controls for employers include:

  • Develop, implement, and enforce standard operating procedures that address worker safety and minimize work to be performed near vehicles and equipment.
  • Use equipment designed to minimize blind areas and equipment with proximity warning systems.
  • Design worksites to minimize backing vehicles and equipment.
  • Ensure compliance with worker safety, traffic control, vehicle regulations and consensus standards pertaining to work in roadway construction worksites.
  • Ensure that construction vehicles and equipment operating on site are maintained in safe operating condition at all times.
  • Develop, implement and test methods of communication to be used during operations.
    - At the start of each shift, review communications signals (verbal, hand signals, flags) between spotters, machine operators, truck drivers, and workers on foot.
    - Prohibit the use of personal cellular phones and headphones or similar items that could pose a distraction.
  • Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive safety and training program in the workers’ primary language and at the appropriate literacy level.
The resource includes checklists for employers, equipment operators, workers on foot and more.

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