The Nature of Backover Accidents
A backover accident, as the name indicates, happens when a person is struck by a vehicle which is in reverse and backing up. While these accidents are not as common as machinery-related accidents at workplaces, they almost always result in debilitating and even fatal injuries. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in 2011, backover accidents were responsible for the deaths of 70 workers in the country.Common Causes of Backover Accidents
There are some reasons why backover accidents happen at workplaces.
- If a person is in a vehicle’s blind spot, the driver might not be able to see them while backing up.
- If a vehicle’s backup alarm is not working, the driver might not be able to alert people while backing up.
- If the workplace is too noisy, workers might not be able to hear the alarm while a vehicle is backing up.
- A spotter who is assisting a vehicle might fail to notice another car coming up right behind them.
- The driver could fall off a vehicle and get run over.
- If the driver backs up the vehicle without actually checking if there is anyone in their path, they might hit someone who is standing or kneeling directly behind the car.
There are some steps that employers can take to prevent backover accidents in the workplace.
- Spotters - A spotter can prevent workers from getting struck by vehicles that are backing up. However, in some cases, spotters themselves might get hit by vehicles, especially if they happen to be in the driver’s blind spot. So, they should be trained well and need to be extremely alert.
- Rearview Cameras -Cameras fitted at the back of a vehicle or mobile equipment can help the driver see if there is anyone in their way while backing up. Employers can choose to buy vehicles with built-in rearview cameras or retrofit existing cars with cameras.
- Radar/Ultrasonic Proximity Sensors - Radar or ultrasonic based proximity sensors can let drivers know if there is anything or anyone in their path and help them back up the vehicle safely. These systems have a receiver, which emits a signal that bounces off the objects or people in the vehicle’s way. Based on the time taken for the signal to return to the receiver, the system calculates the distance between the vehicle and the object in its path and alerts the driver with a visual or audible signal.
- Electromagnetic Proximity Detection Systems - These are tag based systems that typically consist of an electromagnetic field generator and a field detector. They are very effective in detecting the presence of an object or person in a vehicle’s path and alerting the driver of the same.
- Internal Traffic Control Plan (ITCP) - Project managers can devise an ITCP to make sure all the vehicles, mobile equipment, and workers move in a coordinated manner. Such a plan can reduce the risk of vehicles and workers crossing paths and colliding with each other.
Watch YouTube Video: Vehicle Back-Over: Protection Video: Struck-by Accidents in Construction. This animated video demonstrates OSHA's vehicle safety standards for construction sites to ensure a safe workplace.The Importance of Training
In addition to installing proximity detection systems, it is also necessary to provide workers with blind spot training to minimize the risk of backover accidents. Workers should be made aware of the blind spots of various vehicles and get a clear idea as to what the drivers can and cannot see from their seat. It is one of the most effective ways to prevent backover incidents in the workplace.Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers
I'm Ed Smith, a car accident lawyer in Sacramento. Back over accidents can result in severe and even fatal injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call me at 916.921.6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
Our verdicts and settlements are available for review.
Image by dbderuiter from Pixabay
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.10.19]