Evaluation of Devices to Prevent Construction Equipment Backing Incidents 2004-01-2725
Blind areas around construction equipment are a major contributing factor in incidents involving a piece of equipment striking a worker. In highway construction, these types of incidents result in an average of 22 deaths a year in the United States. The Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Transportation, is evaluating methods to decrease these incidents. One such method uses devices that assist equipment operators in monitoring blind areas around the equipment to prevent collisions with workers or other objects. Several camera and sensor systems are available for this application. These systems were evaluated on various trucks used in road construction and maintenance. Tests were conducted on sanding trucks during the winter months, which allowed researchers to investigate the effectiveness and limitations of various technologies under the most extreme conditions. Tests were also conducted on dump trucks and utility vehicles during the warmer months to study the effectiveness of the systems in highway work zones. Results showed that many difficulties arise when using camera and sensor systems in cold, snowy climates. And, while the operation of these systems is more reliable during the warmer months, challenges still exist in using them on equipment in congested work areas.