Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Reverse Signal Operations Responsibilities


EHS is responsible for developing, implementing, and administering the Reverse Signal Operations Program. This involves:

  • Training all drivers and ground guides/designated observers in the associated hazards and general safe work practices.
  • Maintaining centralized records of training and certification records.
  • Providing technical assistance to university personnel.
  • Evaluating the overall effectiveness of the program on a periodic basis.


Departments are expected to maintain a safe and healthy living, learning, and working environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors to our campus. Departments must ensure equipment provided is of a safe design and in good condition and should designate responsible persons to coordinate the requirements of this program with employees.

Ground Guides/Designated Observers

Ground guides SHALL:

  • Be trained in the requirements of the regulation.
  • Always stay in the line of sight of the vehicle driver while it is backing up. Maintain visual contact with the driver at all times while the vehicle is operating in reverse.
  • Maintain a safe working distance from the vehicle.
  • Be provided with and wear during daylight hours, a safety vest/jacket in orange, yellow, strong yellow green, or fluorescent versions of these colors.
  • Be provided with and wear at nightime, a safety vest/jacket with retroreflective material in orange, yellow, white, silver, strong yellow greeen or a fluorescent version of these colors (visible at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet).

Ground guides SHALL NOT:

  • Perform any activities other than those related to the vehicle being signaled.
  • Use personal cell phones/head phones, etc. that could cause a distraction.
  • Walk close behind a vehicle that is backing up or cross behind in close proximity to a covered vehicle while it is operating in reverse.


Drivers/operators of covered vehicles SHALL:

  • Be trained in the safety rules of this regulation.
  • NOT back up a vehicle unless they keep constant line of sight of the ground guide. If the driver loses sight of the ground guide, he/she shall immediately stop the vehicle until sight of the ground guide is regained and a signal is received from the ground guide to restart back up operations.


Whereas the requirements of this regulation applies directly to employees in the vicinity of covered vehicles operating in reverse, we have an equal concern for pedestrians on campus. At Virginia Tech, pedestrians will be included with employees in the vicinity of covered vehicles operating in reverse.

  • Employees/pedestrians must NOT walk close behind a vehicle that is backing up. If a driver/operator notices this situation, he/she should stop the vehicle immediately until the path is clear.


Contractors must comply with all local, state, and federal safety requirements, and assure that all of their employees performing work on Virginia Tech properties have been suitably trained. Contractors must also comply with the requirements outlines in Virginia Tech's Contractor Safety Program.