How To Prevent Workplace Injuries from Runovers and Backovers

Workplace injuries happen. There are approximately 150 fatalities in the workplace per year, nearly half of these can be attributed to people being hit by moving vehicles and equipment. In some cases there is nothing that can be done to avoid the accident, it really is a case of wrong place wrong time.

However, in many cases, the situation can be avoided by understanding how to prevent runovers and backovers.

What Is A Runover or Backover?

A backover is when a vehicle or some other piece of motorized machinery is reversed over another worker. This generally happens because the driver isn’t paying attention or can’t see the other member of staff.

In contrast, the runover is the same thing but the vehicle is moving forward. This may seem less likely but many workplace vehicles are large, making visibility difficult in front and behind.

Top Methods To Prevent Workplace Injuries

The good news is that the following methods can eliminate workplace injuries.

Risk Assessments

The first thing to do is find the areas where accidents are likely. This means any part of the site where a vehicle will be moving. You’ll need to assess the risks and the likelihood of someone being struck as well as where it is most likely to happen.

This will help to ensure additional precautions are taken in these areas.

Audio Warnings

All vehicles and motorized machinery should be fitted with audio signals. These should come on automatically when the vehicle starts to reverse. The audio signal will give people behind the vehicle the opportunity to hear a vehicle reversing toward them and get themselves out of the way.

Remember, if you are right behind the vehicle the driver won’t be able to see you.

Hi Vis Workwear

All staff working in the areas where accidents are likely need to be wearing high-quality hi vis workwear. This will help them to be seen by reversing drivers and for other staff to spot them. It can even make it easier to check people’s locations before a specific maneuver starts.

Hi vis clothing can save lives.


Identifying the risks and getting your staff to wear hi vis clothing is great. But, in order to minimize the risk of accidents and the exposure by the business, you need to train your workers.

That means dedicated sessions regarding the workplace risks, including runovers and backovers. As well as highlighting the risks you need to make sure that all the staff understands the training and sign to say they have received it.

Although the ultimate responsibility lies with the company, employees should recognize their role in helping to minimize risk.

Extra Tip

If accidents are highly likely you may feel it is better to clear the area before large machinery is allowed to move. This means having a person in charge to ensure the area is clear and authorizing the moving of the machinery. It’s not always a viable option but when it is it can really improve the safety of your team.

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