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Preventing Back-Over Incidents

A back-over incident occurs when a backing vehicle strikes a worker who is standing, walking, or kneeling beside or under a vehicle. 

Back-over incidents generally are caused by a driver's inability to see a working in his or her blind spot, a worker's inability to hear backup alarms, or workers retrieving tools or equipment from under a vehicle. 

A blind spot is the area around a vehicle or piece of equipment that is not visible to the operator, either by direct line of sight or indirectly by use of internatl or external mirrors.

The gray-shaded areas in the image below represent the blind spots associated with the referenced front-end loader. Areas shaded in yellow represent areas with minor visibility.


Consider the following actions to prevent back-over incidents:

  • Wear reflective or high-visibility clothing. Reflecting clothing should be worn during low-light periods (i.e., dusk to dawn).
  • Develop internal traffic control plans. Plans should coordinate the flow of moving equipment, workers, and vehicles to eliminate vehicles and employees from crossing paths.
  • Establish and define work zones using signs, traffic cones, caution/danger tape, spotters, etc.
  • Do not allow workers to enter working zones, unless verbal and visual contact is made with the equipment's operator.
  • Eliminate cell phone use in traffic areas, work zones, and shipping/receiving areas.
  • Equip vehicles with in-vehicle display monitors (backup cameras).
  • Ensure backup warning devices are operational.
  • Communicate with drivers (verbal, or visual,) prior to crossing in front-of, between, or behind vehicles.
  • Never cross under vehicles, trailers, railcars, etc.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH;, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;


This Safety Tip of the Week is sponsored by: Electro-Sensors, Inc. 



This Safety Alert was published by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL ... 800-728-7511 ... website:

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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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