Stakeholder meetings focus on preventing vehicle backover deaths
"A backover incident occurs when a backing vehicle strikes a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling behind the vehicle. These incidents can be prevented," according to OSHA. The agency is in the midst of stakeholder meetings to get information and evaluate backover risks across industries, determine whether or how they can be prevented, and discuss the effectiveness of current measures.
Of the 358 backover deaths that occurred from 2005 to 2010, 216 were in general industry, shipyard employment, maritime and agriculture industries, and 142 occurred in construction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an additional 79 workers were killed in 2011 when backing vehicles or mobile equipment crushed them against an object and/or struck or rolled over them.
OSHA has three construction safety standards that require backup alarms or spotters when backing a vehicle with an obstructed view to the rear. Backover accidents happen for a variety of reasons, the agency said. Drivers may fail to see a worker in their blind spot. A backup alarm may not be loud enough to drown out other work site noises. A spotter assisting a truck may not see another truck behind him. Workers riding on vehicles may fall off and get backed over. Sometimes it can be a combination of factors.
New technologies have been developed to address backing hazards, including cameras and proximity sensing technology such as radar and sonar and new types of audible alarms that focus the alarm's sound or are combined with lights, OSHA said. In addition, internal traffic plans that control the flow of traffic and limit backing can help prevent backovers. The agency is considering whether these technologies or other approaches, including training for drivers and spotters, can better address the risks of backing equipment.
Meetings were held earlier this month in Washington, D.C., and will continue in Arlington, Texas, on Feb. 5.
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January 28, 2013
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