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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Backover Accidents

Backover accidents on jobsites can be avoided with modern technology. Listen to this podcast for new and traditional best practices.

Too many workers are killed or injured annually in backover accidents. Dan Clark explains how backup cameras and proximity detection systems can lower the incident rate. If you were involved in an accident and want to start a lawsuit visit

Dan also reviews traditional safety tips for employees working near moving vehicles. Scroll to the bottom for images of common heavy equipment blind spots, and links to NIOSH downloads.


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Dan Clark: There is a delicate dance on the jobsite between vehicles and workers. Sometimes the dance goes badly and we have backover accidents. Let’s look at some new and traditional ways to stop them.

Hi there, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

You might think that a worker would see a large rig backing up a construction site. But noise can drown out those backup alarms causing these struck by accidents.

The backup alarm isn’t always the solution. Companies need to create plans for backing up that drivers, and people on foot, can follow.


* Backup Video Cameras. These are becoming more and more common in vehicles. In older vehicles, whether it’s a semi, a bulldozer, or a garbage truck, they can be retrofitted. But, because of the size, more than one camera might be necessary.

* Proximity Detection Systems. These use radar—ultrasonic waves—to notify a driver of nearby people and objects. The driver gets a warning by a sound or flashing light.

* Tag-Based Systems. This is a type of Proximity Detection System, but the workers wear sensing devices—the tags. The tags send signals to the driver when the vehicle gets too close to one of the workers. They can also work the opposite way, with workers receiving the notification with a buzz or flashing light that a vehicle is approaching.


* Create An Internal Traffic Control Plan. This is a system that can separate vehicles and pedestrians by indicating where it’s safe to drive and walk. Indoors, permanent floor markings and signs can be posted. Outdoors, the system will have to be adaptable.

“Move forward” – suggested spotting signal from OSHA

* Use Spotters For Vehicles That Have Poor Rear Visibility. Drivers and spotters should agree on hand signals. If a driver loses sight of a spotter, he or she should stop immediately. When crews work overnight in residential areas, the backup beep alarm is often muted. Spotters are sometimes the only backup warning system.

* Make Sure Pedestrians Understand A Vehicle’s Blind Spots. During training, sit in the drivers seat or look at diagrams showing blind spots. Just remember, diagrams represent the best-case scenario on visibility limitations. Blind spots become worse in bad weather, in the dark, or when that vehicle driver operates in a repetitive manner or is fatigued.

NIOSH has blind spot diagrams for dump trucks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment. The diagrams are very detailed and specific to many models. You’ll want to see the link in the transcript of this podcast for NIOSH’s excellent images.

Example of blind spot diagram from NIOSH

That’s it for this episode on Backover Accidents. Come back for more ways to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, a service of Creative Safety Supply.


OSHA information: Preventing Backovers

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