Airport Ground Support
Equipment Resources

Pushback Vehicles Fact Sheet: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

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Purpose: To prevent potential injuries due to slips, trips and falls while operating pushback vehicles.

Mounting and Dismounting

Potential Hazards:

  • Slippery equipment surfaces (worn anti-skid materials on steps and ladders)
  • Surface conditions
  • Twisting body improperly
  • Clothing getting caught on equipment
  • Ramp congestion
  • Debris in cab
  • Falls from height
  • Distractions

Possible Solutions:

  • Report any worn or missing anti-skid material to designated personnel
  • Wear shoes with sturdy, slip resistant soles to increase traction
  • Check the surrounding area for any slippery surfaces and debris
  • Report or clean up spills
  • Keep your body in alignment when mounting or dismounting
  • Keep three points of contact (see Figure 2)
  • Check your clothing to ensure it’s not caught on the equipment
  • Do not stand on top of pushbacks while marshaling
  • Maintain focus on task

Walking Around the Vehicle

Potential Hazards:

  • Slippery or uneven surfaces
  • Ramp congestion (equipment, baggage or debris)
  • Tripping over equipment
  • Distractions

Possible Solutions:

  • Wear shoes with sturdy, slip resistant soles to increase traction
  • Be aware of slippery substances such as puddles, glycol and ice
  • Be aware of other equipment staged in the area
  • Be aware of surrounding area and remove any debris
  • Do not cross over the towbar; walk around pushback
  • Lower cradle on towbarless pushbacks when not in use
  • Be aware of uneven ramp surfaces such as pot holes, fuel pit covers and storm drains
  • Maintain focus on task

Operating Vehicle

Potential Hazards:

  • Ejection from moving vehicle
  • Un-commanded movement
  • Malfunction
  • Slippery surfaces
  • Distractions

Possible Solutions:

  • Use appropriate safety restraints
  • No passengers permitted without seat (exception on pushbacks designed for standing)
  • Inspect equipment prior to use and report any malfunctions to designated personnel
  • Inspect cab before entering and report any worn anti-skid material to designated personnel
  • Clean up fluids and debris in cab.
  • Maintain focus on task.

Additional Resources

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

  • 14 CFR 139, Certification and Operations: Land Airports Servicing Certain Air Carriers. This is part of the electronic code of federal regulations. Specific areas of interest for the airline industry may include:
    • 139.101, Certification requirements: General
    • 139.203, Contents of airport certification manual
    • 139.205, Amendment of contents of airport certification manual
    • 139.329, Ground vehicles

Part 139 Certification. Requires the FAA to issue airport operating certificates to airports that serve scheduled and unscheduled air carrier aircraft with more than 30 seats or that the FAA Administrator requires to have a certificate.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace and workers have rights. OSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers. OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information, contact your regional or area OSHA office, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or visit

Through the OSHA and Airline Group Safety Panel Alliance, the Airline Ground Safety Panel developed this Fact Sheet for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the official views of OSHA or the U.S. Department of Labor. 01/2013