Don’t Take Safety for Granted


February 1, 2013

Remain vigilant about your work environment even during everyday tasks.


Compiled by Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief



On Feb. 12, 2011, a 41-year-old grader operator with 15 years of experience was killed at a phosphate rock operation. The accident occurred in a staging area where equipment operators inspected their equipment prior to beginning a shift. The victim had conducted his pre-op inspection, dismounted his road grader, and traveled by foot into a buffer zone that was designated for foot traffic only. He and another equipment operator were exchanging safety glasses when another road grader backed into the buffer zone and ran over him. His death was attributed to blunt force trauma.


Paying attention to your surroundings is important throughout an aggregate operation. While performing common daily tasks such as pre- and post-shift equipment inspections, workers should maintain an awareness of what is happening around them. In 2011, a veteran operator died after being struck by a grader backing up into the equipment inspection area.

To improve safety, use the following best practices.

• Train everyone to recognize workplace hazards and to stay clear of normal paths of travel for mobile equipment.

• Regularly monitor work practices and reinforce their importance. Take immediate action to correct unsafe conditions or work practices.

• Designate a specific area, clear of mobile equipment, where workers can meet before the shift begins.

• If practical, establish designated pedestrian routes through work sites, and use signs to indicate them.

• Install cameras and collision-avoidance systems on mobile equipment to protect workers.

• Ensure that illumination is adequate at the work site.

• Before moving mobile equipment, look in the direction of travel and use all mirrors, cameras, backup alarms, and installed proximity detection devices to ensure that no one is in the intended path.

• Sound the horn to warn persons of movement and allow time for them to move to a safe location.

• Communicate with mobile equipment operators and ensure they acknowledge your presence.

• Wear high-visibility clothing when working around mobile equipment.

• Consider the use of wearable strobes when near mobile equipment.

Information from this Safety Watch is from an actual accident and is provided by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. It is meant for general information purposes only.

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