This Michigan Fatality Assessment and Control Report reviews fatal back-up injuries caused by vehicle blind spots and presents measures for prevention.
LOOK FOR MOBILE EQUIPMENT BLIND SPOTS
Fifteen (15) work-related fatalities have occurred since 2001 while a vehicle was backing up. Construction activities accounted for 9 of these fatalities; dump trucks were involved in 5 fatalities. Other vehicle types include an airport tug, a farm tractor, a cement mixer, a forklift, a fuel truck, a utility bucket truck, a road grader, a window delivery truck, and a semi-truck. A blind spot is the area around a vehicle or piece of contruction equipment that is not visisble to operators, either by direct line-of sight or indirectly by use of internal and external mirrors. Use Spotters wearing reflective vests when the driver has an obstructed view; the truck contains extended components (such as a crane); or when someone or something could enter the driver's backing path.
IN ORDER TO PREVENT SIMILAR INCIDENTS IN THE FUTURE
Install after-market presence detectors on vehicles. Systems include cameras, additional mirrors, ultrasonic sensing and radar.
- Develop Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for backing vehicles.
- Develope Driver backing vehicle training. Training should include: driver stopping vehicle if he'she cannot see the Spotter, performing a walk-around to determine obstacles/hazards and site/vehicle clearances, sounding horn prior to backing, and demonstrating backing competency.
- Develop Spotter backing vehicle training. Training should include: signals to be used and agreed upon with driver, maintaining eye contact and a safe distance from backing behicle on the driver's side, and demonstrating spotter competency.
- Learn vehicle's blind spots. Consult NIOSH Highway Work Zone Safety, Construction Vehicle List (See NIOSH web reference). If vehicle not listed, estimate vehicle blind zone: Sit in driver's seat, have another person walk away from vehicle until driver can see his/her feet, measure distance. For side and rear, repeat process using side/rear view mirrors. Area within measured distance is blind zone.
- Develop an Internal Traffic Control Plan (ITCP) to reduce vehicle backing in work zones and to establish truck lanes and pedestrian walk paths.
- Ensure Worker Visibility. Specify appropriate class of high-visibility vests/clothing. (See ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 web reference)
DID YOU KNOW?
- On average, each year there are 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries each year as a result of a vehicle backing up. (NHTSA)
- You can minimize blind spots as you travel on-the-road. (From National Safety Council)
- Driver's side mirror: Sit in driver's seat
- Roll up window and lean head against it
- Adjust driver's side mirror to point just past where you can see your car.
- Passenger side mirror: Sit in driver's seat
- Lean toward center of vehicle
- Adjust passenger side mirror to point just past where you can see your car.
- Consumer Reports.org measured the best and worst of passenger vehicle blind spots: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/03 /the-danger-of-blind-zones/index.htm
MSU Occupational and Environmental Medicine:
NIOSH Highway Work Zone Safety:
High Visibility Clothing - ANSI/ISEA 107-2010:
TO REPORT A NEW WORKPLACE FATALITY TO MIOSHA
Michigan Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation