By Brad Sant, senior vice president of safety and education, ARTBA

The ARTBA Foundation debuted its new “Safe Backing and Spotting” course Jan. 8 in New York City in partnership with the General Contractors Association (GCA) of New York.  The certificate program was developed to prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities in roadway work zones caused by un-safe backing.

Nearly 30 GCA members from 14 different companies participated.  “Thank you for coming up to NYC and holding the Safe Backing and Spotting course with our members,” wrote John Murray, GCA’s policy analyst.  “The course was excellent and will be a tremendous benefit to our contractors.  I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from some of the members already.”

The course is focused on helping workers to avoid dangerous traffic areas on roadway construction sites, to recognize hazards surrounding equipment, and to provide clear communication between drivers/operators and spotters through the use of standardized signals and communication. ARTBA’s Foundation developed the course knowing that OSHA is looking to address backover hazards through regulations.

During the 4-hour sessions, attendees learned:

  • A thorough understanding of spotting signals and communications between drivers/operators and spotters;
  • Recognition of the “sphere of safety”—the hazards above, below and around moving equipment, and how to communicate those hazards to workers, operators and drivers;
  • Traffic and pedestrian routing strategies as a result of hands-on training, classroom activities and a spotting skills test; and
  • How to identify equipment blind spots, and train workers and operators how to safely navigate congested work areas.

This certificate course is available to ARTBA chapters, members and the general public, and may be scheduled by contacting Robinson Vasquez at, or calling him at 202-289-4434.