Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Program Summary


VOSH adopted this unique standard to address accidents involving vehicles or equipment that were not previously covered by existing standards. The only enforcement tool to date has been the use of the "General Duty Clause". This clause was too general and did not establish the hazard as "recognized", nor did it lend itself to consistent application of safety rules.

Construction work zone accidents involving vehicle or equipment related fatalities included:

Number of Fatalities Type of Vehicle Involved
Dump truck
Equipment/tandem truck
Cement truck, fuel truck, pavement planer, vacuum truck, bobcat
Total: 20

General industry accidents involving vehicle or equipment related fatalities included:

Number of Fatalities Type of Vehicle Involved
Logging vehicle
Gargage truck
Tractor-trailer truck
Delivery truck
Vehicle not specified
Total: 9

Some of the cases involved vehicles where reverse signal alarms were not operational, but other accidents occurred even with operational alarms. Employees apparently became de-sensitized to the sound of reverse signal alarms and other sounds in the work zone. VOSH believes that employees will benefit from the increased safety requirements of this regulation.

Effective Date:

The Reverse Signal Operation regulation became effective September 18, 2009. VOSH is implementing an outreach and phased-enforcement approach. For the first month after the effective date of the regulation, VOSH will fully enforce sections 10, 20, and 30. These sections contain the basic requirements for the regulation. Section 40, which contains requirments for ground guides/designated observers and drivers, VOSH will give one warning for any noted violations of that section at a specific worksite, but not cite the violation. The warning and handout materials will be provided to an on-site supervisor, foreman, or lead person. If VOSH returns the next day and finds the same violation recurring, or if the employer refuses to correct the violation, the employer can be cited. Section 50, which contains training requirements, will not be cited during the 30-day phase-in period (September 18, 2009 to October 18, 2009). This extra time period will give employers and employees time to access the training materials that are being provided. All sections of the regulation will be fully enforced starting October 19, 2009.

To review section requirements of 16 VAC 25-97, click here.


The new regulation will apply to covered vehicles, machinery, and equipment with an obstructed view to the rear. Covered vehicles with an obstructed view to the rear shall not be operated in reverse unless:

  • the vehicle has a reverse signal alarm audible above the surrounding noise level and
  • either the vehicle is backed up only when a designated observer or ground guide signals that it is safe to do so, or
  • before operating the covered vehicle in reverse, the driver visually determined that no employee is in the path of the covered vehicle.