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What does OSHA require to prevent backover incidents?

This section highlights OSHA standards related to backing. There are twenty-eight OSHA-approved State Plans, operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements.

In some circumstances, if a vehicle has an obstructed view to the rear, OSHA requires a backup alarm or a spotter when the vehicle is backing up.

OSHA Regulations

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

OSHA has other standards that relate to vehicles and mobile equipment traveling backwards. For example, OSHA does not specifically require backup alarms on powered industrial trucks, such as forklifts, but there are regulations that prohibit removing a backup alarm if a powered industrial truck is equipped with one by the manufacturer. Accordingly, two OSHA standards for the maritime industry 29 CFR 1917.43(c)(5) and 29 CFR 1918.65(f)(1) prohibit employers from removing safety devices, such as backup alarms, when the manufacturer equips a powered industrial truck with such an alarm.

Additionally, 29 CFR 1910.178(q)(6) prohibits eliminating parts from powered industrial trucks, which would include backup alarms. Paragraph (n)(6) of 29 CFR 1910.178 requires employers to ensure that powered industrial truck operators look in the direction of travel, whether moving forward or in reverse. Similarly, 29 CFR 1910.266(f)(2)(v) requires operators of logging machines to determine that no employee is in the path of the machine before starting or moving the machine. Paragraph (g)(7) of 29 CFR 1910.266 applies this requirement to logging vehicles that "transport any employee off public roads or perform any logging operation, including any vehicle provided by an employee." Determining whether an employee is in the path of travel when a vehicle is moving backwards can help prevent backover incidents.

Regulations from other jurisdictions

Two state plan states have backing regulations that have different requirements than federal OSHA regulations.

Vehicles Causing the Most Backover Fatalities 2005-2010+
Dump Truck 67
Semi/Tractor Trailer 40
Truck 30
Forklift 21
Garbage Truck 20
Pick-up Truck 16

+OSHA Integrated Management Information System data


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