Originally published 10/10/2017
One of the highest causes of injury or even fatality in construction is backing accidents. Every time a machine is put into reverse, the potential for danger exists.
Here are some tips that can help make backing up a safe operation:
- First and foremost, avoid backing equipment and vehicles when at all possible. Plan ahead and set up your site in a way that prevents the need for backing in most instances. Try to position your vehicle so that you can easily pull forward out of a parking spot.
- Make sure your back-up alarm is working.
- You might want to invest in back-up cameras for your equipment or vehicles.
- Mark fixed objects on your jobsite so they are more visible to those operating the equipment or vehicle.
- Place protective barricades to protect people and critical or expensive equipment from struck-by incidents.
- If you must back up, know your blind spots and check them before moving your vehicle. Do a complete walk-around of your vehicle.
- Require everyone near the area where the backing up will take place to wear high visibility apparel and head protection.
- Limit pedestrian and vehicle crossings in areas where backing will occur.
- Utilize spotters to control and direct traffic in high-congestion, high-activity areas. The driver and spotter should agree on a stop signal before the driver begins to move the vehicle.
- Activate warning lights if your vehicle is equipped with them, and sound your horn before backing up.
- Use your mirrors.
- Back up slowly and keep your spotter in view. If you lose sight of your spotter, stop.
Remember, backing accidents are almost always preventable if employees are properly trained and exercises caution. Operators and pedestrians alike must recognize the hazards involved when backing machinery or vehicles, and know what to do to avoid accidents.