Backing Up Safely

Posted by Kahla Livelsberger in #YHSafetyTips, Dec 06, 2017

A backing up accident happens when a driver of any vehicle hits a worker while backing up. According to OSHA, over 200 workers were involved in backing up accidents from 2005 to 2010. Most of these injuries happen when the equipment is only going 5 MPH. We are going to go over some safety tips that OSHA recommends while backing up your safety equipment and work vehicles.


  • Make sure you have an alarm on any type of equipment that moves - especially if the equipment has a blind spot.
  • Try to park the equipment so next time it is used you can pull forward instead of backing up - try to avoid the need to back up.
  • You should have a spotter while backing up - all spotters should be wearing high visibility clothing.
  • Put a cone at the rear - this makes you check behind your vehicle before backing up. You should always do a walk around before starting your vehicle and backing up.
  • Plan out your work site - this helps with the flow of your worksite.
  • If you do not have a spotter, then get out and look around your vehicle.
  • Make sure you are wearing high visibility gear - its helps prevents your workers from being ran over.
  • Install rear cameras.
  • Come up with hand signals with your spotter to help determine safe communication.
  • Spotters should always have visual contact with driver.
  • Do not give any other duties to the spotters so that they are solely focused on the backing up of the vehicle.
  • If the driver looses site of the spotter, they should stop immediately.
  • Do not use cell phones while backing up to prevent distraction.
  • Have a proximity detection system installed so that your vehicle alerts you when you are too close to a person or object.
  • Make a internal traffic control plan - this help your employees know your worksite and plan the flow of everything so noboday crosses paths.
  • Make sure you always back up extememly slow. You should never be going over 5 MPH. You should start off around 1 MPH so workers around you can see you start to move slowly.
  • Before pulling off look in all mirrors.
  • If you have a blind spot then beep your horn twice before trying to back up.
  • Watch for power lines while backing up and low hanging trees.

Every situation is different when you are backing up your equipment. That is why these safety precautions should be used in every senario, to prevent anyone from being injured. Practicing is very important and backing up should be taken very serious. Think ahead before driving the vehicle. Do not put yourself in a position where you have to backup and it could have be avoided. Always remember, if you don't know what is behind your vehicle then don't go!

Check out our products to protect your machinery and equipment while backing up.

If you haven't read last weeks post on Respirators Safety, check it out here.

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