On June 18, 2009, an employee in a work zone, wearing his reflective safety vest was killed by a dump truck that backed up and struck him with its rear passenger side wheels. The dump truck had an audible back up alarm and operating lights.
On June 9, 2010, an employee standing in front of a loading dock facing the building was crushed to death by a tractor trailer backing into the same dock.
These are just two of the fatalities caused by backover incidents – incidents which occur when a backing vehicle strikes a worker who is standing, walking or kneeling behind the vehicle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) more than 70 workers died from backover incidents in 2011. It is a serious challenge for safety in the construction industry.
OSHA has put a new webpage online designed to help prevent backover incidents. It offers in-depth information on the many ways backover incidents can occur (ie., malfunctioning alarms, a spotter assisting one truck may not see another truck behind him) and describes various methods to use for preventing such accidents, such as:
- Using a spotter to help drivers back up their vehicles
- Technology such as video cameras that let drivers see what is behind them, or proximity detection devices that alert drivers to objects behind them
- Internal traffic control patterns that can reduce the need to back up.
- Training employees on where blind spots are
The web page also includes links to a variety of informational resources. Click here to visit the Preventing Backovers web page.