Preventing Backover Accidents at Work

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BLS Reports High Number of Fatalities

Backover accidents accounted for 143 fatalities between 2003 and 2010 at road construction sites according to a recent review by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The article describes precautions that can be taken at such sites when backing up equipment, and we encourage all to be extra cautious around heavy equipment.

OSHA Launches New Safety Webpage

CBS 7 News reported in September that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) “new webpage is giving tips to drivers trying to reverse.” The report goes on to say that “according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more 70 workers died from backover incidents in 2011.” The OSHA webpage discusses offers a review of regulations, OSHA standards interpretations, backing safety solutions, among other resources. They include a discussion of why backover incidents occur and what can be done to prevent them.

The OSHA webpage includes an infographic and what may be a surprising statistic. While it may be expected that large vehicles, such as dump trucks and semi/tractor trailers, and other trucks would account for most worksite backover fatalities, 16 fatalities were caused by pick-up trucks. Even though these vehicles are smaller and easy to drive, there is inherent danger in backing them, just as with other vehicles. Without a backup camera to enhance visibility, extra measures such as using spotters, should be considered.

OSHA Recommends Backup Cameras

The OSHA webpage offers several solutions to prevent backover incidents, including the use of “video cameras with in-vehicle display monitors.” Backup cameras are coming down in price, and some are extremely easy to install. All of the solutions offered are worth considering, and in some cases, more than one option may be used at the same time. Take a minute to review the OSHA webpage and do what you can to enhance the safety of everyone on your worksite.

The numbers cited here refer to deaths due to backover accidents. Not reported is the number injuries arising from worksite backover accidents. Let’s work to eliminate casualties of all kinds on the jobsite.

How safe is your worksite? What are you and your employer doing to prevent backover accidents? What more should be done?