A backover incident occurs when a vehicle is backing up and hits a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling behind the vehicle. Backover fatalities and injuries are most prevalent in the construction industry. While many people only think of construction workers being struck by passing motorists, road workers are also at risk of being killed or seriously injured by construction vehicles. The biggest contributing cause to backover accidents is that rearview mirrors or backup cameras on vehicles have blind spots. With large vehicles such as dump drunks commonly found on construction sites those blind spots are significantly larger than your everyday car.
These incidents can be prevented but still happen far too often. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 326 backover fatalities from 2011 to 2015. Dump trucks were the construction vehicle involved in the most backover accidents. With the right training, proper equipment, and maintenance, backover injuries can be avoided. The following are some of the common causes of backover accidents, and some tips on how they can be prevented.
How do backover accidents occur?
- Drivers may not be able to see a worker in their blind spot.
- Drivers failing to check their surroundings before getting in the vehicle and backing up.
- Workers may not hear backup alarms or vehicles backing up because of worksite noise
- Backup alarms are not functioning.
- Workers riding on vehicles may fall off and get backed over.
- Drivers may assume that the area is clear and not look in the direction of travel.
- Inadequate communication between the driver and bystanders
Preventing backover accidents
- Using a trained and focused spotter to help the driver back up their vehicles.
- Training employees on where the blind spots are and how to avoid being in them
- Installing a rear-view camera, backup sensors, or additional mirrors
- Workers should wear proper high visibility safety gear to be easily spotted by drivers
- Conduct regular safety checks of the safety alerts to make sure they are working properly.