© HalfPoint | Adobestock

Waste collection can be one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. This is due in no small part to the hazards of operating collection vehicles around other collection workers and pedestrians. The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virgina, in partnership with the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland, issued tips that can help workers prevent backing accidents on the job.

Tips for preventing backing accidents

  • Do not ride on the rear step when the truck is in reverse
  • Do not attempt to mount or dismount the truck while it is moving
  • Avoid backing whenever possible
  • Scan the area for fixed objects upon arrival and approach (cars, overhead objects, etc.)
  • Anticipate the actions of people and other vehicles in and around the truck
  • Respond to changing conditions
  • Do not back around corners or into an intersection, unless there is no other option
  • Use the mirrors to scan the area frequently, watching for motion around the truck
  • Use cameras if installed
  • Do not fixate on one mirror (or camera)
  • Driver should alternately check both mirrors
  • Don’t forget to look in front
  • Turn off distractions (radio, cell phone, etc.)
  • Use a spotter during backing
  • The driver must take full responsibility of the backing maneuver and the backing spotter’s safety
  • Stop if the driver loses sight of the spotter
  • A reliable and qualified guide can keep pedestrians out of the blind zone
  • Agree on hand signals both the driver and the spotter understand
  • Turn off your radio and open your window when driving
  • If you’re a driver, keep your guide in sight at all times
  • Stop immediately if your guide disappears from sight
  • The final responsibility for safe backing remains with the driver, not the guide
  • When in doubt, remember your G.O.A.L—get out and look