A very real danger that exists on a construction site is one that is often overlooked. Everyone knows that falling from great heights or injuries from machinery are common with this type of work. However, many may not know that backover accidents also cause numerous deaths each year on construction sites.
A backover incident often occurs when a vehicle backs over a worker that is walking, standing or kneeling behind the vehicle. A reported 70 workers died from backover accidents in the year 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent these horrible accidents.
How do backover accidents occur?
To prevent these incidents, it is important to understand how they occur in the first place. Backover accidents usually happen due to several jobsite factors. For example, the noise from machinery can be so loud those nearby do not hear the backup alarm on a vehicle. Sometimes, accidents occur when workers riding along the outside of a vehicle fall off and into the path of the tires. Drivers of these vehicles also deal with a blind spot, and if workers stay in this blind spot too long, a backover accident can occur. Drivers often have spotters that are there to assist them while backing up a large vehicle. Occasionally, the spotter helping a driver will not see another vehicle and be backed over. In some cases, the reason why a worker was in the path of a vehicle is unknown.
How do construction sites prevent backover incidents?
One way of preventing backover accidents is cameras that work in conjunction with in-vehicle monitors. This allows drivers a clear view of what is behind their vehicles. There are also sonar and radar devices that alert drivers when objects or people are behind them. Better-planned sites will also cut down on these occurrences. For example, if a traffic control plan is implemented, then this will reduce the need for drivers to back up. Perhaps the best resource in preventing this terrible accident from happening is proper training. Most employees are not aware of the blind spot location on a typical work vehicle. For this reason, they will have no idea they are standing in a danger zone. To remedy this problem, proper training for workers is crucial. If they know where the blind spot is on a vehicle, they will be less likely to become part of this accident statistic. Also, wearing high-visibility vests will help them be seen.
Construction sites are dangerous for numerous reasons. Backover accidents are just one way that workers are injured or killed while trying to do their job. It is important to make workers aware of backover dangers to assure a safe construction site.