Vehicle Safety (Backing Up) Safety

Vehicle Safety (Backing Up)

Operating heavy equipment or a motor vehicle is inherently a hazardous task, however, backing up creates more risk for incidents to occur. According to the National Safety Council, backing accidents cause 500 deaths and 15,000 injuries per year. All too often unnecessary backing is responsible for injuries or property damage incidents.  It is important to consider the hazards of backing and what can be done to mitigate these hazards.

Hazards of Backing Up

With increased blind spots, backing leaves drivers and operators at more risk for error resulting in damage or injury. The most serious incident occurring due to backing is fatalities of ground personnel. OSHA states that dump trucks followed by semi-trucks and ordinary pickups are responsible for the majority of back over incidents in the past 10 years on the job. Outside of struck-by incidents involving ground personnel, there are many other hazards to consider. A few hazards include:

  • Less visibility/ more blind spots
  • Fixed objects
  • Moving equipment or vehicles
  • Uneven terrain (construction sites)

Backing can almost always be eliminated or greatly reduced when proper preplanning is used. Elimination should always be the first choice before relying on less effective safeguards such as backup cameras or a spotter. Discussion point: Are we doing a lot of unnecessary backing during our work tasks?