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Safe Vehicle Backing

Trihydro employees drive thousands of miles every year to and from project sites.  Whether you are part of the project team or supporting/visiting the site, using a vehicle spotter will help avoid injuries and motor-vehicle accidents.

Use the following safety tips for vehicle spotting (NSC 2014):

  • Make sure the spotter and the driver are familiar with and agree upon the hand signals to be used.
  • Spotters should always maintain 100% eye contact with the driver whenever the vehicle is moving.
  • Drivers should stop immediately if they lose eye contact with their spotter.
  • Multi-tasking (e.g., using mobile phones, headphones, eating, talking to others, etc.) is prohibited while spotting a vehicle; stick only to the spotting task.  
  • A high-reflective safety vest is recommended while spotting vehicles.
  • Spotter should never place themselves between the backing vehicle and any object that could obstruct the spotter’s ability to move out of harms way.

Newer model vehicles may include camera features that can help drivers while they are operating a vehicle.  While these cameras are great innovations, spotters should be used since blind spots may still exist.  Proximity detection sensors are another great innovation to help drivers estimate how close they are to a physical object.  While these detection sensors may provide proximity alerts, the use of actual spotters will help prevent accidents (NSC 2014).

References: 

National Safety Council (NSC).  2014.  Backing up vehicles safely.  Available from:  https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/9970-backing-up-vehicles-safely

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Brian Pelan
Brian Pelan
OSE Director, Laramie, WY

Brian has over 20 years of professional experience in environmental, health, safety, and security (EHS&S). His areas of expertise include EHS&S risk management; ISO systems management & auditing; fluid recovery/recycling; and industrial hygiene services.
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