Low-tech Ways to Avoid Struck-by Accidents

Dec. 17, 2014

In “Dealing With Deadly Spaces...Machine Blind Spots,” we detailed startling NIOSH statistics on struck-by accidents. OSHA is also focusing on preventing incidents in which employees are struck by vehicles.

One impetus was statistical evidence from one of its particular regions: In the past five years, 15 percent of all workplace fatalities investigated by OSHA’s Kansas City regional office have involved vehicles striking employees in the workplace. These incidents were caused, OSHA says, by traditional vehicles (cars and trucks), as well as forklifts, semi trucks, and other moving industrial equipment like cranes and yard trucks.

“Fatalities occurring from vehicles striking workers are senseless and preventable,” says acting regional administrator Marcia Drumm. More than a third of the incidents in the region involved forklifts or semi trucks. Seventy percent of the fatal incidents took place at general industry worksites and 24 percent happened in construction.

Here are nine tips from OSHA on vehicle safety:

  1. Train operators of moving vehicles in the following safety practices and make sure they consistently follow the rules.
  2. Inspect vehicles before each shift to ensure their safe operating condition.
  3. Pay particular attention on steep grades or ramps that might cause a tipover.
  4. Never drive a vehicle in reverse gear with an obstructed rear view unless there is an audible reverse alarm or another worker signals the all clear.
  5. Set parking brakes when vehicles and equipment are parked and chock the wheels if the vehicle is parked on an incline.
  6. Lower or block bulldozer and scraper blades, end-loader buckets, etc. when not in use and leave all controls in a neutral position.
  7. Make sure workers can be seen in all types of light by wearing warning clothing like orange or red vests and reflective garments at night.
  8. Never exceed the rated load or lift capacity of a vehicle.
  9. Never carry people unless there is a passenger seat and the rider is using a seat belt.

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