You wouldn't let an untrained worker operate heavy equipment on a jobsite because it's too dangerous. But what kind of training do you give the spotter you trust to protect that equipment, its operator and other workers?
If you think being a spotter is an easy job that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower or that the "new guy" can handle it, you could be setting up a disaster. In fact, three of the four leading causes of construction site fatalities – struck-by accidents, electrocutions and caught-between hazards – are situations spotters usually help manage.
A new article by the safety experts at Safety Management Group in Indianapolis gives some needed perspective to the Spotter role, calling it "a critical element of site safety."
Besides making sure that backing vehicles don’t run into people or objects, spotters monitor cranes and other equipment operating near power lines. They protect vehicles and equipment, monitor earthmoving processes and stay alert to the presence of underground utilities. Spotters have a variety of responsibilities - and therefore require adequate training and a part in safety pre-planning meetings.