Injuries and Illness

Blind Spots, Part 2: Use Worker Training to Prevent Backover Incidents

Ready for some statistics that should make you take a step back? Between 2003 and 2010, 143 workers on road construction sites in the United States died when they were hit by vehicles backing up. And in 2011, 70 workers in all industries were killed in backover accidents.

Backovers have become so distressingly common that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a backover prevention topic page, and in June, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a “Workplace Solutions” bulletin addressing the topic. Through its Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program, NIOSH investigated 36 backover fatalities that occurred at road construction sites between 1992 and 2009. Keep reading to find out what these two agencies recommend with respect to worker training regarding backover injury prevention.

Training for Vehicle Operators

Worker training plays a key role in site safety. Both vehicle operators and pedestrians at the worksite should be trained in how to avoid tragic accidents.

Join us on January 6 for our Workplace Safety webinar to learn more on what to expect from OSHA in 2015—and importantly, how to prepare now! Click here to register now!

Make sure vehicle operators know:

  • Where their vehicle’s blind spots are, including how any after-market vehicle modifications may affect the blind spots;
  • How to properly adjust their mirrors for maximum visibility;
  • Which safety features their vehicle does or does not have and how to use them;
  • Where their travel lanes are; and
  • Which restrictions apply to reversing their vehicles

Worker Training

Pedestrians have a vital role to play in their own safety. Make sure pedestrians know to:

  • Always maintain awareness of their surroundings.
  • Always know where vehicle travel lanes are at the worksite.
  • Always use designated pedestrian travel paths when they are available.
  • Always wear high-visibility reflective clothing.
  • Always communicate with a vehicle operator before approaching a vehicle.

Enforcement strategies and priorities, regulatory and standard setting, employee/employer and state program outreach—these are some of the keys areas OSHA identified in 2014 as its priorities and strategies for FY 2015. Join us for this safety webinar on January 6th to learn more! Register today!

  • Always make eye contact with equipment operators when they are in the area.
  • Always yield the right-of-way to a piece of equipment.
  • Always allow sufficient stopping distance for large vehicles.
  • Always stay out of blind spots.
  • Always be aware of approaching vehicles and backup alarms or visible warning lights, like flashing lights.
  • Never cross in front of or behind a piece of moving equipment.
  • Never walk between a piece of moving equipment and a stationary object.

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