Avoiding Backover Injuries

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When working on a farm, trucks and various pieces of equipment must be backed up from time to time. Whether it be a tractor, farm truck, or another piece of equipment, it is important to take safety precautions, so workers remain protected and uninjured.

If precautions are not taken, a driver may miss seeing a worker standing behind, kneeling behind, or walking past equipment. The worker may be backed over, caught between, or crushed between equipment/objects. Employees may be seriously injured or killed due to a backover accident.

Please see the information and safety tips below to assist in keeping farm workers safe.

General Prevention Tips

  • Train equipment and vehicle operators
  • Enforce proper backup techniques
  • Avoid unnecessary backup
  • Ensure both the operator and other workers are aware of surroundings
  • Develop and require the use of alternate travel routes
  • Ensure all turnaround areas are level, firm, and well-drained to prevent tip-over
  • Determine if a spotter is necessary
  • Never allow workers to eat lunch or rest near active working vehicles and equipment
  • Avoid the use of mobile phones, headphones or other items that could be a distraction
  • Consider installing a backup camera
  • Require the use of backup safety systems such as alarms, lights, and sensors
  • Avoid backing up when dusky or dark outside
  • Consider the use of high-visibility vests for workers on foot
  • Avoid backing up in heavy rain or other weather conditions that may restrict visibility

Hitching Safety Tips

  • Inspect all equipment, including the hydraulic and electrical connections, drawbar hole and hitch pin, and the three-point hitch
  • Check to make sure no one is behind the vehicle
  • Utilize a backup camera and/or alarm
  • Back up slowly
  • Stop, place in park, and lock brakes once the hole in the drawbar is aligned with the hole in the implement hitch
  • Dismount and connect the electrical and hydraulic connections if required
  • Connect safety chains
  • Release the parking brake and drive away slowly and cautiously
  • Use coordinated American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) hand signals if a spotter/helper is assisting
  • Ensure your spotter/helper understands the hand signals being used
  • Ensure your spotter/helper stands outside the vehicle path

Vehicle & Equipment Operator Training

  • Back up hazards and worksite safety measures
  • Back up only when necessary and for as short a distance as possible
  • Check surroundings for obstacles, other workers, and equipment
  • Follow all guidelines of the equipment/vehicle manufacturer
  • Ensure all mirrors are clean and properly adjusted
  • Be aware of vehicle blind spots
  • Inspect all vehicles and equipment prior to use including backup systems
  • Look under and behind vehicles, trailers, and equipment prior to backing
  • Honk the vehicle’s horn and turn on flashers when backing
  • Back at a slow speed
  • Roll down windows to increase the ability to hear
  • Never assume workers on foot can see you

Farmworkers on Foot Training

  • Stand where the vehicle’s mirrors are visible
  • Do not go between a moving vehicle or any equipment that is hitched or being towed
  • Do not stand or linger in a vehicle’s path
  • Never take breaks next to vehicles or equipment
  • Always stay alert and listen for backup alarms and watch for vehicle movement
  • Never assume the vehicle operator can see you
  • Do not wear earbuds/headphones or use mobile phones
  • Inform other workers when vehicles/equipment are approaching


KEMI does not assume liability for the content of information contained herein. Safety and health remain your responsibility. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and not intended to be exhaustive or a substitute for proper training, supervision or manufacturers’ instructions/recommendations. KEMI, by publication of this information, does not assume liability for damage or injury arising from reliance upon it. Compliance with this information is not a guarantee or warranty that you will be in conformity with any laws or regulations nor does it ensure the absolute safety of any person, place or object, including, but not limited to, you, your occupation, employees, customers or place of business.