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Backing Accident Excuse: I wasn’t there when I parked…

If we understand that incidents lead to backing accidents, then we can prevent future accidents.

When a person backs into something with a vehicle the immediate reaction is excuse-making:

“That post shouldn’t be there anyway!”

“When I walked around the car that building wasn’t there.”

“I wasn’t there when I parked the truck”

Let’s face it, if you back into a stationary object you feel stupid, embarrassed, and in trouble.  When it happens, the operator of the vehicle looks around to see if anyone saw the accident.  If no one is around, the operator’s mental wheels may go into cover-up mode.  I believe that most people really don’t understand how serious a backing accident can be, so they don’t take the necessary precautions.

Any vehicle can cause serious injuries to people and damage to property.  Any person who becomes pinched between a vehicle and a stationary object can experience permanent injury and perhaps death.  Physicists have long known that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.  If we understand that incidents lead to backing accidents, then we can prevent future accidents.  The key to prevention is to reduce the number of incidents.

Too many times, employees and management unintentionally create an incident when they let production get ahead of safety.  On a job, good people who want to get more accomplished can emotionally charge a job site and set-up competition that can lead to the hazard of taking short cuts.  A short cut in this case is when an operator of a vehicle decides not to clear an area occupied by another object.

To clear an area the operator must walk around the vehicle (conduct a 360) and make sure clearance exists, and if possible, use a spotter to make sure clearance is maintained.  The problem is that we are human and errors in judgment can occur.  For this reason, we need a reminder to conduct the 360 walk-around so that we might choose safety over production.  The sticker shown below is an example of a reminder some of our clients use to reduce the error of not clearing the backing area.


Stickers apply inside on the glass: Click On Prices to purchase: (includes shipping)

1 –    $4.95  10 – $21.95  50 – $79.95  100 – $97.95  500 – $327.95  1000 – $537.95





Backing into another object is one of the easiest accidents to prevent and yet causes injuries and damage year after year.  A change in the safety culture is the answer to the problem.  As taught in my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop, your organization has critical safety procedures that must be maintained as norms of the organization.  Norms can be observed in companies when we conduct a walk-through to customize my workshop.  Here’s one example:

While conducting a walk-through at one of my clients’ plants, I observed a large truck backing up to hook onto a trailer.  In the cab were the driver and another worker in the passenger seat talking on the phone.  Later while walking through, I observed several parking situations where vehicles were parked so that they would be backed into a high traffic lane.  The safety culture of this particular location was not one where preventing backing accidents was practiced.  In this case, every instance of a vehicle parked incorrectly was an incident, and when the vehicle was backed into traffic without a spotter another incident occurred.  Do the math… enough incidents will eventually lead to an accident, it’s just a matter of time.

Creating a safe workplace through incident control is a commitment that must be made by the entire organization.  Through a systematic safety process, critical safety procedures must be identified for the particular industry, location, and type of work being performed.  More importantly the critical safety procedures must become the norms of each and every person from the CEO to the visiting college intern.

Take steps to freeing your workplace of incidents that lead to backing accidents.  Make one of your critical safety procedures the practice of clearing an area when moving any vehicle backward or forward.  Another critical step is training everyone in hazard recognition and control.  Opportunities to attend my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop are available each month somewhere in the United States.  The workshop is also available for presentation at your location that includes a  walk-through of your facility to customize the material and help you identify unsafe conditions.  Email me at to learn more about bringing this vital workshop to your organization with goal in mind: nobody gets hurt..

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