Operator Visibility Around Heavy Equipment

In some cases, it is nearly impossible for an operator to see a person standing next to the equipment. An operator must always remain patient and cautious. Never proceed or use reverse to back into an area without knowing what is there.

Listed below are some of the more common safety tips to observe to help improve operator visibility.

Before operating at the worksite:

  • Know the locations where personnel commonly work or visit. Understand where the restricted zones are located.
  • Identify traffic hazards, poor road conditions, obstructed intersections and areas where the equipment will be operating in reverse (parking, loading and unloading locations).
  • Always do a walk around of equipment prior to startup
  • Use a spotter in all situations where it is impossible for the operator to use the First Move Forward Policy, and when it is impossible to verify it is safe to proceed. As a reminder, do not operate in a work area if it is not clear.
  • Ensure personnel in the work area are wearing clearly marked high viz vests.

Tips for improving operator visibility on the mobile equipment:

  • Make sure windows are clean and unobstructed.
  • Verify mirrors are clean and in a position to provide the best visibility to the ground, wheels and adjacent objects.
  • While sitting in the cab, identify the areas of limited visibility and what level of risk each presents.
  • Ensure the back-up alarms, horns and other audible controls are working.
  • Always use audible and visual control signals to alert others when you will be moving.
  • Routinely inspect the condition of windshield wipers and replace when signs of deterioration exist.
  • Periodically review and follow all safe work practices, and start up and shut down procedures when operating equipment or machinery.

Questions to Generate Discussion

  • What areas or tasks at your job site create the poorest visibility to pedestrians and other obstructions?
  • What safety controls can be implemented or improved to increase operator visibility around heavy equipment? (Elimination, Substitution, Engineering and Purchasing Controls, Administrative Controls & PPE)