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HEAVY EQUIPMENT BACKING

Operations involving heavy equipment should always be planned to avoid backing the equipment as much as possible. In many operations, to avoid the awkward backing movement of the equipment is not always economically or environmentally possible. hen the backward movement cannot be eliminated the machine or equipment must be adapted for backing movements.

Many pieces of heavy construction equipment that are wheeled vehicles such as dump trucks, front end loaders, cement trucks, etc. are equipped with special mirrors to help eliminate blind spots. Even with these seeing aids, there are still blind spots from the operator's control position. Blind spot diagrams for each type of construction equipment are available from the manufacturer, showing what an operator can see toward the rear of the machine. Some types of heavy construct ion equipment have no view to the rear at all, and therefore require a guide or spotter to assist the operator in backward movement.

Back-up alarms are installed on most construction equipment. The advantage of the reverse alarm is that any person close to the rear of the equipment is alerted to the forthcoming rearward motion of the machine. This device alone has helped reduce the number of workers being struck by backing equipment.

The real key to preventing equipment backing accidents is the people on the job. That's you and me. Avoid parking vehicles or placing material or equipment in areas where heavy equipment is operating to eliminate obstacles to the machines movement, and STAY ALERT when working nearby.

Operators of heavy equipment, including trucks, should check for obstacles before they begin moving. Be aware of blind areas and never back up unless you are certain the area is clear. Have someone act as a guide in congested areas. Equipment operators, with the cooperation of contractors, workers and the public, can eliminate most, if not all, equipment backing accidents by following the procedures mentioned here and keeping SAFETY foremost in their thoughts.

CHECK YOUR BACK-UP ALARM AT THE START OF EACH SHIFT. IF IT'S BROKEN HAVE YOUR SUPERVISOR ASSIGN A SPOTTER TO YOU.

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