What is a blind spot? It is the area around a vehicle, or any piece of equipment, that is not readily visible or noticeable to the vehicle operator, either by a direct line-sight view or using any internal or even externally placed mirrors.
Problems with blind spots are mainly found with equipment in use at industrial or construction locations.
We often notice incidents in the news where some unfortunate individual is hit by a vehicle or run over by some vehicle backing up during an operation. Then, an investigation is completed to conclude once again a very preventable menacing situation contributed to the injury or death.
Where Are the Risks?
- Equipment/vehicles in motion (backing or forward);
- Turning radius of equipment/vehicles;
- Placement or location (arc of the terrain, buildings, materials, etc.) and;
- Noise levels that can interfere with good communication during operations.
Preventative Measures to Take:
Complete a pre-job risk assessment. Walk the job site and provide a plan to correct known unsafe conditions.
- Ensure all mobile equipment has and maintains working backup alarms.
- Establish vehicle travel areas and people travel areas. Use barricades, cones, barrier tape, and other traffic control system or means to set these areas apart from work locations.
- Require use of high-visibility vest/clothing.
- Require material handling signal person to direct movement in areas where necessary (workers in travel area, limited space, turning radius is tight).
- Verify communication of your location through eye-to-eye contact with the equipment operator. Wave your hands to get their attention or use a radio to ensure operator knows your location relative to their equipment.
- Establish mirrors at corners to reflect oncoming traffic, both mechanical and workers.
- Designate and properly train a signal person or traffic spotter about their duties. Know the “blind spots,” and always remain visible to the driver and other workers in the travel area.
- The signal person must be properly trained, wear reflective fluorescent blaze outerwear, wear safety footwear, headwear, and other personal protective equipment required on the project, and use clearly understood hand signals or standard traffic control devices (STOP paddle, etc.).
- The equipment operator must always obey the signal person and never back up or move in congested areas without the signal person indicating the path is clear. The driver must be trained to understand all signals used by the signal person.
- Workers walking through the area should also be trained to recognize driver blind spots and avoid entering these areas.
Upon walking into a work area, the person on the ground has the primary responsibility to become aware of, and to adapt to available solutions: wear the required personal protective equipment, obey “Restricted Areas” requirements, and verify the equipment operator is aware of your presence.
ALWAYS STAY ALERT…SO YOU DON’T GET HURT!
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