Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Safety Sciences

First Advisor

Tracey Cekada, D.Sc., CSP, CHSP

Second Advisor

Christopher A. Janicak. Ph.D., CSP, CEA, ARM

Third Advisor

Wanda Minnick, Ph.D., CSP


The purpose of this quantitative study was to analyze the perspectives of key stakeholders to determine if the use of broadband sound emitting reversing alarms is perceived to improve safety in the workplace more so than traditional tonal sound emitting reversing alarms. The survey population consisted of steel industry occupational pedestrians, forklift operators, leadership and maintenance employees working at fifty-five locations of one North American steel company that is currently using broadband sound emitting reversing alarms and has been doing so for a period exceeding two years.

Results indicated that persons with increased familiarity of reversing alarms (obtained via awareness, experience, insight, knowledge, and understanding) were more likely to have greater perceptions of the benefits of reversing alarms. In addition, individuals with no forklift near miss/injury event experiences (59.9% of all respondents) also had increased perceptions of the benefits of reversing alarm. When respondents were presented with eight individual traits that are beneficial of reversing alarms, broadband reversing alarms were selected by respondents as matching the eight traits on average of 61% whereas only 33% (on average) of respondents selected tonal reversing alarms (6% selected neither or both).

This study is significant as it 1) validates the need to ensure those exposed to reversing alarms are trained on their benefits; greater familiarly of an alarm yields greater perceived alarm benefits, 2) determined the perceptions of a large study population (n=698), with over two years’ experience with broadband reversing alarms, and 3) identifies broadband reversing alarms are perceived by survey respondents to have more beneficial characteristics than tonal alarms specific to the protection of occupational pedestrians. This study provides the unique perspective of key stakeholders in an uncontrolled study group and will serve as a reference point for reversing alarm analysis and provides empirical data on which future research may expand.

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