The US Department of Labor (DOL) has produced a series of prevention videos regarding safety in industry and on the jobsite.
In the U.S., more than 800 construction workers die every year while on the job. Being struck by vehicles, heavy equipment, and other objects is the top cause of injuries and the second cause of death for construction workers, killing more than 150 workers in 2009. But these injuries and deaths can be prevented.
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and required protective equipment. You'll see that taking the right protective steps saves lives.
All scenes are based on true stories. A surveyor was spray painting the ground to outline the area for a new building pad. At the same time, the driver of a wheel tractor scraper was moving forward to get the ground ready for pad construction. There was no spotter at the site, and there was no internal traffic control plan in place. Before backing up to go over the ground again, the driver checked his rearview and side mirrors. He didn't see anyone in his mirrors, so he up. The driver's back-up alarm didn't work, so the surveyor did not hear the scraper coming towards her. As the driver backed up, he ran over the surveyor. She died from the injuries.
Let's look at the events leading up to this tragic incident, and see how it could have been prevented. When a vehicle on a construction site has an obstructed view to the rear OSHA's standard requires employers to provide that vehicle with a working back-up alarm, or a spotter on site to tell the driver when it is safe to back up. Now let's see what happens when protective measures are in place. Although there is now a working back-up alarm, it is barely audible over the background noise, so as an added safety measure there is also a spotter on site wearing a reflective vest. There is also an internal traffic control plan in place. This plan helps protect workers because it tells the drivers of moving vehicles and equipment the safest way to move around the work site. So this time, before backing up, the scraper's driver waits for the spotter's signal so he knows the area is clear to enter. Now as the driver reverses, the back-up alarm can be heard and no workers are near the scraper.
This example shows the importance of employers following OSHA's vehicle safety standards for construction sites to ensure that workers are provided with a safe workplace.
These types of construction worker deaths are preventable.
The protection measures shown here save workers' lives. Please follow OSHA's safety standards at worksites: it could be the difference between life and death. If you would like more information, contact OSHA at www.osha.gov or 1-800-321-OSHA.
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