Blind Spots: Construction Vehicle Safety

vehiclesWorksites with moving construction vehicles pose a number of dangers, especially when workers must navigate roadways and those sites with a high population of people. For on-site vehicle safety, blind spots are a real concern. Says NIOSH, “Collision incidents are attributed in part to limited visibility around the equipment.”

The agency provides three different Blind Area Diagrams to represent the ability of the operator to see an object at three different elevations: ground level, 900 mm (3′), and 1500 mm (4′ 11″). The 900 mm plane represents the average height of a channelizing device. The 1500 mm plane corresponds to the height of a 4′ 11″ person. Although each type of vehicle will have different dimensions, dump trucks are one of the most common vehicles to be involved in an accident.

Studies show that highway and street construction workers are at a significant risk of fatal and serious nonfatal injuries while working in and around a street/highway construction jobsite. In addition to the risk of injury from passing motor vehicle traffic outside the work zone, there is an equally hazardous risk of injury from movement of construction vehicles and equipment within the work zone.

In addition to staying alert and training workers for working around vehicles, OHSA recommends to following measures:

  • The area directly in front or behind trucks and large equipment is a prohibited zone. Do not walk or work in front or behind the equipment unless you receive verbal and visual communication from the operator that it is safe to do so. Do not approach a vehicle unless the operator signals his or her approval.
  • Be careful not to stray into open traffic lanes or pathways of trucks delivering materials.
  • Position yourself so that you have peripheral vision of everything in the area where you are working. Don’t stand in shadows or in areas where you may be hard to see.
  • Create a routine to glance around in all directions for awareness of surroundings.
  • Wear appropriate high‐visibility garments that comply with industry standards. Keep vest closed in front and on sides to ensure visibility.
  • Listen for back-up alarms, horns or other signals warning you of nearby vehicles. Don’t ignore alarms.
  • Stay in your assigned area. Remain behind barriers or other traffic control devices designed to separate you from traffic and construction equipment.

For more construction safety information, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.

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Nina McGinley

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