Companies Behaving Badly – Backup Failed

There has been an alarming rash of workplace accidents recently, involving vehicles backing up resulting in the deaths of workers.  Even though poor weather conditions were partially to blame, complacency also has a hand in this.  We’re all guilty of rushing around and under constant pressure to get the job done so, we tend to make assumptions that unfortunately can prove to be fatal.  These accidents could have been prevented with a little communication between the driver and the area around him instead of assuming it was clear to proceed. 
Let me put this as simply as possible for you all!  Whether you’re operating a bus, truck, car, forklift, or an X-34 land speeder, after you jump behind the wheel, before you slap it into gear, take that one lousy second out of your life and possibly save someone else by LOOKING behind you before backing up!!  Can I be any clearer!?  I’ve pulled drivers off of forklifts if I observed them back up without looking.  Immediately suspended their forklift license until they completed their re-certification via videotape, classroom instruction, and road test.  Why?  Because it’s a skilled job and a privilege earned to be a forklift driver.  
It is all not on the driver though.  Back-up injuries are like a tango, it takes two to dance and it only takes a split second for either of you to be distracted, be complacent, drop your guard, and boom.  Don’t ever assume the driver knows you are there.  Don’t stand behind a vehicle especially if the motor is running.  That should be a clue it could suddenly move at any time. Drivers, if you’ve been idling for a while or you have poor visibility get off your ass and make sure no one is behind you or honk your horn and yell, backing up!  But for you to assume that no one is behind you is just asking for an accident.
 Don’t ever put yourself between a rock and a hard place.  Maintain eye contact with the driver at all times so you each know where you are and avoid a lifetime of regrets.  Here are some recent stories.
Highway 17 mudslide worker killed in construction truck accident –  A horrible accident occurred on Highway 17 in Northern California.  They were working on clearing a mudslide caused by the rains deluging California.  
 Sheriff’s deputy hit by bus at East Bay jail dies – Another horrible incident.
Hurricane city worker dies after being crushed at construction site – Driver spun backhoe around but didn’t look first and now worker is dead. 
I think you get the point. Always be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on.  If you’re a driver working in an area where a lot of workers are on foot, slow down.  Use your horn and let everyone know you’re there.  If you’re a pedestrian working in the same area where there’s traffic and people, don’t become complacent and tune out.  You need to watch for moving vehicles and stay off your cell phone, it’s a deadly distraction.  Wear bright colors and stop and wait if you don’t make eye contact with the driver.  By working together you can get the job done and no one gets hurt.  
It’s that time again boys and girls.  That pain in the butt time change.  The biggest issue is the disruption to your sleeping cycle which may cause you not to be as alert as you usually are. This is demonstrated by the increase in the number of accidents the Monday after the time change.  So plan according, get more sleep Sunday if you can and you also might want to have a huddle Monday morning reminding your staff to be careful.  Also, put off any new projects or training that day as well.  Please don’t gamble with the lives of your family and also change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, especially if you didn’t do it last time.  With fresh batteries you know your alarms will work when needed and why wait for that annoying beep, in the middle of the night, to remind you?  Be a hero.  DO IT!

Thanks for stopping by.  Never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.


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