In a crowded and congested urban environment like New York City, space is in short supply. Consequently, many of the buildings being constructed and renovated are built up rather than out. With tens to hundreds of construction workers, dump trucks, cranes and other construction vehicles and equipment all crowded into a small area; the likelihood of an accident occurring increases exponentially.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, every year more than 70 construction workers are hit and killed in backover accidents at construction sites. At smaller work sites, like those that are typically found in Manhattan, vehicles like dump trucks and tractor trailers must be on hand to haul away dirt and debris. In many cases these construction vehicles make several trips to and from a construction site on a daily basis.
A backover accident may occur when a construction employer fails to take the necessarily precautions to ensure for the safety of pedestrian construction workers. For example, due to the size and girth of most construction vehicles, a driver is handicapped by large blind spots which make the already challenging task of attempting to safely back up and maneuver a vehicle in a small area even more dangerous.
However, backover accidents can largely be prevented when certain safety protocols are put in place. For example, a spotter can stand to the rear and side of a backing vehicle and alert other workers to move out of the way while helping a driver safely back up and out of a construction site.
Additionally, due to the fact that construction sites tend to be loud, it’s imperative that all construction vehicles are equipped with functioning alarm signals and horns to alert pedestrians to move out of the way. Employers may also take steps to ensure that vehicles used on their work sites are equipped with back-up cameras and other types of “proximity detection devices” that alert a driver to the whereabouts of other objects, including construction workers.
In cases where a worker is hit or backed over by a vehicle on a construction site, the resulting injuries often result in a worker’s disability or death. When these types of tragic accidents occur, it’s crucial to investigate what happened and identify possible safety violations and deficiencies.
Source: OSHA.gov, “Preventing Backovers,” Sept. 29, 2015