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Preventing Backovers: Back Up Alarms and Operating Lights Aren’t Foolproof

It’s easy to forget how dangerous large trucks and pieces of machinery are. As with other tools we use every day, we get used to being around them so our natural instinct to watch for danger is diminished. Workers continue to be injured and die from being struck or run over by vehicles and machinery that are backing up.

Back up alarms and operating lights are required and do help prevent many accidents. But on noisy construction sites, they often aren’t enough. Workers can’t hear the alarms, and they’re busy performing tasks so they may not see the lights.

OSHA offers the following suggestions to help keep sites safer from backovers:

  • Use a spotter to help drivers back up their vehicles.
  • Install video cameras with in-vehicle display monitors to give drivers a view of what is behind them.
  • Install radar or sonar devices to alert drivers to objects that are behind them.
  • Use a tag-based system to inform drivers when workers are behind the vehicle and to alert workers when they walk near a vehicle that’s equipped to communicate with the tag.
  • Create an internal traffic control plan so drivers know where to drive and can reduce the need to back up.
  • Train workers where blind spots are located and how to avoid them.

Putting extra measures in place, increasing worker awareness, and utilizing technology will all go a long way toward reducing backovers.



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