Backup Safety: The Hazards of Blind Spots

Construction vehicles on a job site present a number of hazards, and the backup function is one of them. Whenever an operator has an obstructed view to the rear, OSHA recommends a backup alarm or a spotter to prevent accidents.

While OSHA does not specifically require backup alarms on powered industrial trucks, such as forklifts, there are regulations that prohibit removing a backup alarm if a powered industrial truck is equipped with one by the manufacturer.

The specific regulation that do apply include:

Above all, safety experts advise that workers be trained to determine whether an employee is in the path of travel when a vehicle is moving backwards. One component of this training can include putting employees who will be working around vehicles in the driver’s seat to get a feel for where the blind spots are and what, exactly, the drivers can see.

Importantly, two state plan states have backing regulations that have different requirements than federal OSHA regulations.

The most common and dangerous accidents that have occurred in the past ten years include dump trucks, forklifts, garbage trucks and pick-up trucks. For example, a recent report involved an employee working inside a work zone wearing his reflective safety vest. A dump truck operating in the work zone backed up and struck the employee with the rear passenger side wheels. The backup alarm was not working at the time of the accident.

On some work sites, employers can create internal traffic control plans, which tell the drivers where to drive and can reduce the need to back up. In some cases, internal traffic control plans can also be used to separate employees on foot from operating equipment.

As always, an ounce of prevention can safeguard against dangerous accidents. Training and forward thinking are the first steps. For these and other safety concerns, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.








The following two tabs change content below.

Nina McGinley

Latest posts by Nina McGinley (see all)

About Nina McGinley