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4 Ways Workers Can Prevent Backover Accidents

Steve Wagner

Synopsis

  • According to most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 70 workers are involved in backover incidents each year and each month, at least one worker is killed by being backed over by a construction vehicle, often a dump truck.
  • 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 when drivers use a spotter to help them back up their vehicles or cameras and technologies are used to give drivers a view of what is behind them.
  • Indiana currently has no laws related to preventing runovers and backovers outside of OSHA’s regulations and suggested safety standards.

Understanding Worker Deaths Caused by Backover Accidents

Although backover construction site accidents and related worker deaths are completely preventable, at least one worker is killed by being backed over by a vehicle each month. Backover accidents typically occur because construction sites are often extremely noisy, making it hard for workers to hear back-up signals or alerts to get out of the way. And even with flashing lights, orange safety vests, and traffic cones, workers still frequently end up in the blind spots of trucks, and walk directly in the path of danger. Lastly, although it’s clearly unsafe, workers will ride on the outside of a construction vehicle within a worksite, only to then fall off and become fatally injured.

Most Backover Accidents Are Preventable

Although there are dozens of workers injured each year in backover accidents, the majority, if not all, are completely preventable with proper alerts and greater safety awareness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created a list of a few things workers can do to help protect themselves and others around them, safe from backover accidents:

  • If you are the person driving the truck or construction vehicle, have a partner to look out for workers on the ground. Having an extra set of eyes around you can make you aware of anyone in your blind spot, help discourage anyone from hopping onto the outside of the vehicle, and help you avoid other dangers like construction trenches.
  • Remind those around you, and even your supervisors, that the alarms and alerts on vehicles are there for a reason. Implement regular safety checks of these back-up alerts just like you would a smoke detector in your home.
  • Work with all employees, drivers, and supervisors to create traffic flow charts within work zones. The more you can control the direction trucks and construction vehicles are moving, the more accidents you will prevent.
  • Use proper safety gear. Although it may not prevent an injury every time, wearing proper work gear, designated orange safety clothing, hard hats, and more, could help a driver see you, or could help prevent an injury, should you be knocked down or struck by a vehicle.

Some worksites are implementing sonar and radar devices that can be worn by individuals to alert them of oncoming traffic or make drivers aware of the proximity of a worker. Others are equipping work vehicles with cameras and backover detection systems. These are helpful tools to aid in the prevention of these tragic work accidents and the legal team at Wagner Reese would like to see more of them put to use.

Work Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys

Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your Indiana work injury or wrongful death claim with years of experience and proven results. If you would like legal advice on a workplace accident, give us a call today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation or speak with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information.

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