The opportunity for personal injury or property damage when blind backing is not to be ignored. The following safety tips will be great reminders to help avoid such accidents.
Spotters are a requirement:
The first requirement for safe backing is to have a spotter to direct the driver. A spotter is necessary anytime the driver does not have a full view of the backing path. This holds true for any vehicle or heavy equipment. Drivers shall be trained to never back up unless a spotter is directing their movements.
The spotter’s responsibilities:
The spotter must watch out for others and themselves to prevent bodily injury or property damage from occurring. While this may sound easy, the dangers involved are plentiful.
If the spotter must pass behind a vehicle, they should have the vehicle come to a complete stop before proceeding. The spotter shall extend their arm out at arm’s length and place it against the back of the vehicle. This will allow the spotter to immediately be aware of any movement that vehicle makes if the driver’s foot slips off the brake or clutch pedal.
When directing the driver, stand at the rear but to the driver’s side of the vehicle. This gives an unobstructed view of the entire backing path and allows the driver to have clear site of the spotter. It is important that the driver understands all signals so communicate before any backing and explain the signals to be used. Hand signals are the best means of communication because of potential for high noise levels that would inhibit vocal communication. The spotter shall be consistent with signals to ensure clear communication with the driver.
Be sure you are seen:
The spotter always needs to be in clear sight of the driver to ensure they can effectively communicate with the driver. A fluorescent vest and at night a flashlight shall be used by the spotter to increase visibility and ensure hand signals are understood. Be alert when walking backwards to prevent trips and falls.
Spotters and drivers work together:
Working as a united team is so important when it comes to spotters and drivers working on jobsites with heavy equipment. Working as a team, they can protect property and life.