This GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk provides tips and reminders for spotters on the jobsite. Click below to download the Toolbox Talk as a handout (includes Sign-In Sheet).

Spotter Safety: Responsibilities and Duties

One critical job on a site is the task of a spotter. The spotter is a second pair of eyes and ears for a driver or equipment operator (e.g. a crane operator). This person stands near the vehicle or equipment and ensures that the driver/operator receives information that might be otherwise inaudible or unseen.

The spotter must be able to maintain constant communication with the operators of vehicles and moving equipment. Examples of a spotter’s tasks include assisting a truck backing up, making sure that equipment is not getting too close to power lines, and helping construction vehicles maneuver high traffic or pedestrian areas. A spotter should be used anywhere a vehicle or equipment operator would have a hard time seeing all surroundings at once.

Spotter Responsibilities

  • Be aware of hazards at ground level (soft or muddy areas), as well as above (overhead wires) and below (trenches).
  • Look for the possible blind spots that the operator may come across.
  • Look out for tripping hazards and other hazards along the way.
  • Spotter Best Practice: walk the route of the vehicle or equipment ahead of time. This will help identify areas of concern and the spotter can arrange to clear the areas with obstructions.
  • Remember: the way the site was yesterday may not be how it is today.

Spotter Safety Notes

  • The spotter must maintain constant communication with the operator using hand signals, hand-free radio, or voice commands.
  • The operator must be able see the spotter at all times. The operator should stop if they lose sight of the spotter.
  • The spotter should be in a good position to see all around the vehicle or equipment. If not, the spotter should move to a better location.
  • The spotter should wear appropriate PPE, and should wear some form of high visibility clothing, such as a high visibility vest.

Both the operators and spotters should have a good understanding of the jobs at hand, and by taking these simple steps, they should be able to do the tasks safely.

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