The above is designed to assure that malfunctioning reverse signal alarms are promptly repaired. A concern was expressed by some commenters to the regulation about what a general contractor is supposed to do if an independent dump truck driver attempts to enter a road construction site with a malfunctioning reverse signal alarm. One option mentioned by a commenter was to not allow the dump truck onto the work site. The Department agrees with that approach.
7.What if a back-up alarm stops functioning after the covered vehicle is already on the work site and the alarm had been properly functioning when it entered the work site.
Response: In such a circumstance, and in light of it being impossible for the employer to comply with the reverse signal alarm portion of the regulation on that day, it is permissible to operate the vehicle with only a designated observer/ground guide, but the malfunctioning alarm is then to be fixed immediately, as required by the regulation.
8.Doesn’t the regulation potentially require employers to hire hundreds, perhaps thousands, of new "designated observer/ground guides" that do not presently exist. That is the potential cost that has not been addressed, and it is substantial.
Response: The Department does not believe that hundreds or thousands of new designated observer/ground guides would have to be hired to comply with the regulation. We believe that most employers who currently do not use designated observer/ground guides will take advantage of the exemption that enables the driver to operate in reverse without a designated observer/ground guide:
“Before operating the covered vehicle in reverse, the driver visually determines that no employee is in the path of the covered vehicle.”
The above language 16 VAC 25-97-30.2.b. is based on 1910.266(f)(2)(v) of the Logging Standard which provides:
“Before starting or moving any machine, the operator shall determine that no employee is in the path of the machine.”
The text was added to address potential cost issues associated with the exemption in the regulation from use of a designated observer/ground guide that would have allowed drivers to get out of the vehicle to determine that no employees are in the backing zone and that it is reasonable to expect that no employees will enter the backing zone. The change would also provide a level of consistency by providing drivers of covered vehicles in construction and general industry the same reverse operation option as provided drivers in the logging industry.