One of the top causes of death in construction is being struck by a vehicle or another object. In fact, over 70 percent of these fatalities involve trucks, cranes and other types of heavy equipment. Following heavy equipment safety rules and regulations, especially double checking warning devices such as back-up alarm systems, can be lifesaving.
Here is an actual event that ended in tragedy.
A construction inspector died when an asphalt dump truck backed over him. The truck was bringing hot asphalt to a housing project. The inspector followed safety rules such as wearing an orange reflective vest and hardhat at the time of the incident. Unfortunately, the dump truck’s back-up alarm was not functioning properly and traveled several hundred feet in reverse, speeding at 5 to 10 miles per hour, before backing over the inspector. The inspector did not see the dump truck approaching since he had his back to the truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
One of the top safety requirements is “do not drive a vehicle or equipment in reverse gear with an obstructed rear view, unless it has an audible reverse alarm distinguishable from the surrounding noise level or another worker signals that it is safe.” In this case, the truck driver did not make sure that personnel were in the clear and did not use someone to help with signaling. It resulted in an end of life.
Dump truck operators as well as operators of other heavy equipment need to make sure they follow certain safety guidelines before jumping into their machine. These safety checks include double and triple checking to ensure audible alarms and horns are in working order. These simple safety checks, which take seconds, may be the only way to warn people that a heavy equipment is on the move.
You can learn more about heavy equipment and the safety issues that go along with working in this field by obtaining professional training with the Heavy Construction Academy.