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November 1, 2021
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Moving Vehicle Safety - Spotters

Spotters are often used to direct the movement of vehicles (trucks, loaders, cranes, etc.) when vision is obstructed.

The following safe practices are recommended when using a spotter:

  • Spotters should coordinate hand signals with the vehicle operator. Ensure that hand signals and their meaning are well understood.
  • Drivers should remain in visual contact with the spotter and stop the vehicle when visual contact is lost. Vehicle movement may resume once visual contact is re-established. Spotters should stay out of the vehicle’s blind spots. The image below provides an example of the blind spots and areas of minor visibility for a medium sized dump truck.
  • Spotters should not stand between moving vehicles and fixed objects such as walls, equipment, etc.
  • Spotter should not perform any additional duties that would redirect attention away from vehicle movement.
  • Spotters should avoid using distracting items such as cell phones or headphones.
  • Spotters should wear high-visibility gear, especially when working in poorly lit areas and during low-light hours.
  • Spotters should avoid walking backwards. Should the spotter trip while walking backwards it may place them in a dangerous or deadly situation. Consider standing just beyond where the vehicle will stop backing up or moving forward. If the vehicle is changing directions consider moving to the point of the direction change and re-positioning as needed.
  • Spotters should stay out of the operating areas unless the get physical confirmation or permission from the vehicle operator.
  • Spotters should use hands-free radios when possible.


This Safety Tip of the Week originally published May 7, 2018.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;



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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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