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Fatal accidents while backing up are strikingly common

It's been said that a high percentage of car accidents happen when drivers are moving in reverse, even though they do it for such a small percentage of the time that they are behind the wheel, and the same thing applies to the construction industry. Heavy equipment and large trucks that are used on site pose a serious risk due to their size, blind spots, and the noise of a construction site.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, two of the top types of accidents that are linked to injuries and deaths in construction happen when workers are caught in-between or struck by equipment. This includes instances when vehicles are backing up.

Every year, over 100 workers pass away and over 20,000 workers are injured in street construction and highway construction sites alone. More than 50 percent of these fatalities involve vehicles and other types of equipment being used near or directly within the work zone.

Additionally, vehicles that are backing up have been shown to be a prominent cause of fatalities when looking specifically at "worker-on-foot" accidents.

There are solutions in place to lower the level of risk for the workers. Some machinery can only be used with the assistance of a spotter, who can see things in the vehicle's blind spot. Many vehicles have to use backup warning systems that beep when the vehicle is in the proper gear. Additionally, back-up cameras are starting to be used, and they can in some cases replace other warning systems.

That said, all of these systems can't eliminate all accidents in New Jersey, so the families of workers who are killed must know their rights to compensation.

Source: OHS Online, "Don't Let Your Job Run You Down," Dennis Burks, accessed Feb. 03, 2016

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