Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Backing Operations Workgroup Report
Tuesday May 8, 2012

  • Steve Hawkins - Co-Chair
  • Chuck Stribling - Co-Chair

Attendees - See attached Sign In Sheet

Steve Hawkins, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:20 pm.

All present in the room introduced themselves and a sign-in sheet was circulated.

Jim Maddux, director of the Directorate of Construction, addressed the workgroup and discussed the RFI recently published (on Backovers) in the federal register. He encouraged ACCSH members and other interested parties in the room to submit comments into the docket and other pertinent information before the comment period closes on June 27, 2012. He also stated information could be submitted directly to him or to Paul Bolon after that date. He also stated a request to extend the comment period had been received by the agency and was under consideration.

Following Mr. Maddux's remarks Mr. Dave Fosbroke, with NIOSH, presented an overview of a research project underway at NIOSH looking at internal traffic control plans (ITCP) and the effect these plans have on backing hazards on several large continuous paving projects. Mr. Fosbroke informed the workgroup the findings were preliminary and the study was in the draft stages. He emphasized the point that the data had not been fully analyzed and the additional work on the data was still to be completed. Several limitations of the study were discussed including that fact that the ITCP was put in place only the day before or the day that the observations were made and that one would expect better results were the plan in effect for a longer before the observations. He also discussed a chart identifying a scoring system for hazard exposure depending upon where a worker was physically located in relation to the equipment and the direction of travel of the equipment.

The preliminary results of the study are a "mixed bag" at this point. Several of the projects appear to show a hazard reduction when an ITCP was deployed while other projects studied did not exhibit a reduction. Mr. Fosbroke stressed the analysis was not completed and a conclusion has not yet been reached by NIOSH. He assured the workgroup additional information from the study would be shared with the group in the future.

Mr. Fosbroke also presented information on the diagramming of blind spots for specific construction machinery (e.g. various dump trucks) and how this information might be used by employers and employees to recognize the hazards associated with backing. The presentation included a review of several methods used to document blind spots.

Following Mr. Fosbroke's presentation a lively and productive discussion was held. Mr. Fosbroke answered several questions about the study and mapping of blind spots. His presentation was very pertinent and beneficial.

Mr. Steve Hawkins presented the results of a very informal survey concerning hand signals used by a spotter and equipment operator. The survey was distributed to the members of ACCSH and other state plan OSHA programs. The results showed most respondents recognized the hand signals that accompanied the survey. In addition, the results indicated most of the respondents supported standardizing hand signals. All of the comments were compiled and are attached to this report.

A discussion of hand signals was held and some of the comments indicated hand signals might be better placed in a non-mandatory appendix to a possible OSHA standard.

The workgroup discussed topics for a future meeting including the possibility of having a representative from Lane (Rea) Construction company come and speak on the company's use of ITCPs on their paving projects. Mr. Brad Sant will be contacted to determine if the company is willing to present to the workgroup. The Co-Chairs will also attempt to develop a list of research papers that may be available addressing this hazard.

No motions were made at the meeting and the workgroup will continue to explore this topic in future meetings.

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