Originally published 05/22/2018
Definition: A blind spot is the area around a vehicle or piece of construction equipment that is not visible to the operators, either by direct line-of-sight or indirectly by use of internal and external mirrors.
Many people know that virtually all vehicles have blind spots, however most people don’t realize how big they are!
Here are some tips that can keep us all safe around vehicles and equipment:
- If you’re the driver, ensure you don’t do things to distract you from your surroundings while operating the machinery.
- Cordon off the area with temporary fencing or hazard tape where possible.
- A spotter should be used when you cannot practically isolate your equipment from other workers.
- All pedestrians onsite should be aware of a vehicle’s blind spots and know how to signal the driver if required.
- The machinery should be stopped if someone needs to approach.
- If possible, do the bulk of the work with machinery with minimal people onsite.
- Tools/Attachments on vehicles can create greater blind spots. They can also reduce visibility, or swing which can increase the risk to workers being struck or pinned.
- Watch out for heavy equipment moving with raised buckets and be ready for possible sudden movements of booms or changes in direction of equipment movement.
- Do not cross directly in front of or immediately behind large, heavy equipment or trucks where the operator sits higher in the vehicle.
- Properly adjusting vehicle mirrors can substantially reduce blind spots. Video cameras are also a good source to use to reduce blind spots.
- Technology such as proximity detectors are very useful, but technology doesn’t replace the need for situational awareness.
- Radars and sensors can also be helpful to warn workers and drivers.
- Consider GPS installed on equipment as well as wearable GPS tracking worn by workers.
- Develop an Internal Traffic Control Plan- Strategies to control the flow of construction workers, vehicles, and equipment inside the work zone.
- Reduce hazards for equipment operators such as: reducing the need to back up, limiting access points to work zones, establishing pedestrian-free areas where possible, and establishing work zone layouts to accommodate the type of equipment.
- Provide signs within the work zone to give guidance to pedestrians, equipment, and trucks.