Construction projects can be big or small, but on most Chicago construction sites at least one vehicle is required at some point for delivering and moving around materials. Flatbed trucks and pick-ups can be used for some jobs while forklifts and dump trucks are used for others. Generally, the driver of a vehicle on a construction site must be trained to properly use the truck’s operating features.
Construction vehicles have some functionality that does not exist on most non-commercial vehicles, particularly when it comes to safety. For example, many construction vehicles come equipped with back-up warnings that automatically start when a vehicle is put into reverse. A back-up warning can have various sounds but is intended to warn individuals behind a vehicle that it is moving backwards and that it may cross their paths.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, back-up warnings are an important part of keeping construction workers safe. Between 2005 and 2010, nearly 200 people have been killed by construction-type vehicles operating in reverse. This statistic includes garbage trucks, tractor-trailers and more traditional forms of construction vehicles.
Without a definitive warning signal, a person on a construction site or near a construction vehicle may not be aware that the truck is in motion. A construction truck driver may not have the capacity to fully see behind his vehicle and, due to the potential for noise on a site individuals near him, may not hear a weak back-up signal. Definitive warnings are integral to preventing construction site back-overs and saving lives.
Though back-over deaths may not appear to affect that many construction workers, they are a major problem on and around construction sites. What is most tragic about them is that they are preventable. The proper use of warnings and training of truck drivers could eliminate many of the construction injuries and deaths inflicted on construction workers by back-over accidents.