A spotter is an employee trained to look. The purpose of a spotter is to assist the operator in maneuvering equipment into position to prevent injury to the operator, spotter or other personnel or prevent property damage. A spotter may be necessary if required by the jobsite, in busy or congested areas, when the operator does not have a full view of the intended path of travel, when backing up, maneuvering into or inside of buildings or other structures, potential for damage to facility systems or structures, in close proximity to other personnel.
Spotters shall be trained on their assigned responsibilities, understand basic operating procedures of equipment they are spotting for, hazards of the equipment and working environment and lower controls and overriding capability of the upper controls of aerial work platforms.
The roles and responsibilities of a spotter include, but are not limited to:
- According to OSHA the spotter should be positioned to have a clear view of the areas the operator cannot see and to not be in harms way. Usually behind the equipment or vehicle in view of the driver.
- The spotter shall allow for sufficient stopping distance and clearance.
- The spotter and operator shall decide on appropriate hand signals or communications before operations begin.
- The spotter must always be visible to the operator. If you can’t see the operator, the operator can’t see you.
- If the spotter must pass through the operator’s blind spot, make sure the operator understands your actions.
- The spotter shall stay focused and avoid distractions.
- The spotter shall make eye contact with the operator before communicating signals.
- The spotter shall conduct frequent hazard assessment of area for potential hazards and notify the operator if hazards are discovered. Hazards that should be monitored for include, but are not limited to, drop offs or holes, bumps and floor obstruction, debris, overhead obstructions and high voltage conductors, hazardous locations, inadequate or inappropriate surfaces and support to withstand all load forces imposed by equipment, presence of unauthorized person, poorly lit areas, slippery surfaces or spills.
Employees shall maintain a safe distance for operating equipment, generally 6 feet is recommended. If you must get within 6 feet, make eye contact with the operator and only mover after you get a signal from the operator that is it safe.