I hate to admit it, but over the years I have had my fair share of mishaps when it comes to backing up vehicles. From hitting my dad’s car to eliminating a few small trees in the yard, and even testing the strength of cement support posts with my bumper. Vehicle backing accidents and injuries are a very common occurrence, including at worksites. Whether it’s at a warehouse with forklifts running everywhere or construction sites with machinery coming in and out of the site, safe backing practices are critical to achieving a safe working environment.

It’s important that all personnel in the area are properly trained and adhere to safe vehicle backing procedures. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provide great safety practices to help prevent vehicle backing accidents. Some of the most pertinent of these include:

  • Backing should be a controlled operation, used only when necessary, and under specified conditions. There should be clear communication between the operator and workers on foot before any backing begins.
  • All workers should be trained to avoid approaching or working near any backing equipment or vehicles.
  • Before backing up a vehicle or piece of equipment, conduct a 360-degree inspection of the vehicle’s surroundings to check for any potential hazards.
  • Use a spotter whenever possible. Ensure the spotter is adequately trained and does not stand in any blind spots or pinch points while assisting. There should only be one spotter to avoid any confusion to the vehicle operator.
  • Ensure Worker Free and Equipment-Free Zones are established and communicated to all workers. These areas include blind areas around equipment, equipment travel lanes, and paving trains, moving equipment including swing radius, pinch points, and moving parts, and other hazardous areas such as near power lines.

Consideration should also be given to utilizing various safety technologies such as backup cameras and alarms to assist with safe backing practices. Communicating and enforcing these safe backing practices are crucial to preventing injury to yourself, your employees, and your property.


United States Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “Preventing Runovers and Backovers: Internal Traffic Control in Roadway Work Zones.”

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