By Jeff Stachowiak
Beep, Beep, Beep
Why am I hearing a beeping backup alarm that the entire neighborhood (and city) can hear?
I live in Florida and I love to fish. I have an 18' flat boat and fish mostly inshore in and around the Jacksonville area, in St. Johns River and in St. Augustine. Once in a while I can get offshore when the winds are right and fish two to five miles out.
It is beautiful out on the Atlantic when the winds are calm and the blue water is like glass.
However, do you know what I can hear three miles offshore? Yep, your backup alarm. Why?
Because you’ve been using technology that is 50 years old.
A beeping backup alarm is extremely annoying to everyone within ear shot or within three miles.
Also, its proven to not be very effective on jobsites where there are numerous vehicles that are backing up all day.
Studies have shown that workers become deaf to the beeping noise pretty quickly.
Is there a better backup alarm?
Yes, white noise. These are the same backup alarms Amazon uses on their delivery trucks.
I know you’ve heard them.
Oh right, you probably didn’t hear the Amazon truck backup in your neighborhood since the ssh-ssh-ssh does not travel three miles.
The ssh-ssh-ssh is all you hear but only if you are near the vehicle that is backing up.
Many of these white noise alarms are directional as well so you don’t hear it even if you are in front of the vehicle that is backing up.
Many municipalities (see OSHA regulation 1926.602(a)(9)(ii)) now require these white noise alarms.
If you live in a city or have ever stayed in a downtown area, garbage pickups and delivery vehicles work early in the morning and late at night and that beeping backup alarm is very annoying, even in a hotel bedroom on the tenth floor.
No employer shall permit earthmoving or compacting equipment which has an obstructed view to the rear to be used in reverse gear unless the equipment has in operation a reverse signal alarm distinguishable from the surrounding noise level or an employee signals that it is safe to do so.
The number one comment I’ve heard from construction customers when the rental industry introduced electric boom lifts and other rough terrain MEWPs years ago was the lack of noise on site from a diesel or gas engine.
People notice, especially here in Florida where a good amount of construction and restoration work is done with large populations of people within ear shot of these projects.
So, why ruin a good thing with a beeping backup alarm?
When renting your next piece of equipment, request a white noise alarm on that equipment from your rental provider.
Your neighbors and your workers will be grateful for what they cannot hear.
Also, as a bonus, you’ll be contributing to a more harmonious and less disruptive environment.
To learn more about noise regulations in the United States, visit, www.nonoise.org/lawlib/states/states.htm.
Jeff Stachowiak is the owner of Stach Safety Consulting Services LLC. He has more than thirty years of experience in construction rentals and and specializes in MEWPs, forklifts, scaffolds, and fall protection.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.