Federal agency urges steps to avoid construction vehicle injuries

Michigan construction workers know that vehicles operating on a worksite can present safety hazards. Here is some basic information about how to avoid a serious accident around a construction vehicle.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of all fatal workplace injuries from 2003 to 2010 were caused by a vehicle striking a worker. To cut down on these numbers, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that all work sites implement methods to prevent this type of construction worker accident. These recommendations address procedures, equipment operation, communications and training.

In the area of procedures, NIOSH recommends that companies have workers perform as little work as possible around construction vehicles. They should use vehicles designed with minimal blind spots and use proximity warnings whenever possible. Work sites should have the proper level of supervision and make sure that a driver only backs up while using another worker as a spotter.

Regarding construction equipment, all vehicles should be properly maintained. It is important that all vehicle safety features such as back up alarms and video camera systems be installed according to the manufacturer’s requirements. Daily inspection of all vehicle safety equipment such as brakes, lights and horns is also critical to prevent accidents.

Companies should also invest in developing communication methods that their workers can use during their daily operations. At the start of each shift workers should review the different hand signals they use to communicate with each other. The use of personal cell phones should be banned during the work shift and two-way radios should be issued to workers as well.

Finally, companies need to develop and implement a detailed worker safety program. This program should include a daily safety meeting that informs employees about what type of work will be performed each day as well as what the job hazards are and the proper procedures that need to be followed.

When a construction worker is injured on the job they have the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits under Michigan law. An experienced workers’ compensation law firm can represent the worker throughout the claims and appeal processes and work to recover all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: www.cdc.gov, “Preventing worker injuries and deaths from backing construction vehicles and equipment at roadway construction worksites“, Accessed June 2, 2015