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NIOSH, BFI Team for Research Project on Drivers’ Field of Vision When Backing Up

NIOSH Update:

November 19, 1997

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is partnering with Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) on research in the refuse collection industry to enhance drivers’ field of vision when they back up their trucks during collection operations.

Results of the study will help prevent incidents from drivers backing up their trucks with limited visibility behind them.

“We are pleased to join with BFI to find practical ways to further the safe operation of trucks in this major industry,” said NIOSH Director Linda Rosenstock, M.D., M.P.H. “Collaborations such as this one are increasingly important for advancing the research that benefits workers, employers, and the public alike.”

The collaborative project will evaluate different placements of cameras on trucks at a BFI site to determine the placement that gives the driver the clearest view in back as the truck moves in reverse. Studies have found that standard camera mountings leave drivers with a blind spot directly behind the vehicle.

The new project builds on results from a study conducted by Texas A&M University, in which trucks were driven through a series of maneuvers in a controlled laboratory setting as different camera placements were used. From those tests, Texas A&M researchers identified camera placements that gave drivers better visibility while backing up. The NIOSH study will determine if similar results are seen in an actual work setting. The study will look at questions such as: Are cameras used more or less in certain placements because of differences in field of vision related to that placement? Do glare from the sun, spray from wet roads, and other factors make specific placements more useful or less useful in providing a good field of vision?

NIOSH has conducted several studies to improve safety in refuse collection. Earlier this year, the institute issued “NIOSH Alert: Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths from Moving Refuse Collection Vehicles,” which included practical recommendations for preventing injuries in the industry.

For further information about NIOSH research, contact the toll-free NIOSH information number, 1-800-35-NIOSH, or visit the institute’s home page on the World Wide Web at