Backing up and reverse motion are a leading cause of vehicle-related injuries. Planning, preventive measures and training can greatly reduce the chance of a backover incident. Below are some best practices to ensure safe backing at your job sites.
1. Avoid the problem: don't back up if you have an alternative. Plan your job site to allow pull-through parking, or park vehicles off site if appropriate. Always avoid backing up whenever an alternative exists.
2. Use backup alarms. Whether or not OSHA requires a backup alarm on your particular vehicle or equipment, backup alarms save lives and should be installed and used as much as possible. Backup alarms must be louder than surrounding noise.
3. Designate a spotter. Be sure the spotter is qualified and trained to use the proper hand signals to guide the driver. If the driver loses visual contact with the spotter, he must immediately stop the vehicle.
4. Place a safety cone behind the vehicle. This requires the driver to remove the cone before backing up, thus ensuring a visual inspection of the area behind the vehicle. It also serves as a reminder to others to leave space behind your vehicle. AIS drivers place a cone in front of their vehicles as well.
5. Plan your job site and communicate your plan. Designate traffic flow, including areas in which vehicles may have to reverse. Review the plan at your daily tailgate meeting. Make sure all crew members wear high-visibility clothing.
6. Consider rear-mounted cameras. While not a substitute for complete visibility or spotters, cameras greatly increase visibility.