OSH Answers Fact Sheets

Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >

Download the free OSH Answers app
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

Search all fact sheets:

Type a word, a phrase, or ask a question

Tractors - Roll-over Prevention

How do you prevent backward upsets?

In a backwards tip, the tractor can hit the ground in less than one and a half seconds.

Backwards tip

Factors that cause a tractor to tip over backward depend upon the load and the height of the hitch from the ground.

  • Hitch only at the manufacturer's recommended height.
  • Engage the clutch pedal slowly and smoothly. Be ready to disengage power quickly if the front end begins to come up.
  • Start forward motion slowly and change speed gradually.
  • Use counterweights to increase tractor stability. Follow manufacturer's instructions.
Use counterweights to increase tractor stability
  • Avoid backing downhill.
  • Drive around ditches, not across them.
  • Back your tractor out when stuck or tow the stuck machine out with another tractor. Tractors are also prone to tipping when the wheels are stuck. For example, in mud or snow, or in contact with boards, logs, chains, etc. used in an attempt to improve traction, but which actually prevent the wheels from turning.
  • Turn downhill when working across a slope.
  • Drive straight down even the gentlest slope. Do not drive diagonally across it.
  • Do not hitch a load higher than the tractor draw-bar.
  • Do not coast downhill. Before starting down, shift to a lower gear that prevents freewheeling and excessive braking. Try to use the same gear to go down a hill that you would use to pull the load uphill.

How do you prevent sideways upsets?

  • Set wheels as wide as practical for maximum stability.
  • Avoid depressions and obstacles.
Avoid depressions and obstacles
  • Turn downhill, not uphill, if stability becomes uncertain on slopes or ramps.
  • Keep loads, implements, or loader buckets close to ground.
  • Keep side-mounted implements on the uphill side.
  • Match speed to conditions and loads.
  • Back up steep slopes or ramps.
Back up steep slopes or ramps
  • Lock brake pedals together before high speed travel.
  • Slow down before turning.
  • Use engine for braking when going downhill.
  • Stay away from the edge of ditches and streams.
  • Do not try to cross steep slopes.

Document last updated on August 2, 2012

Add a badge to your website or intranet so your workers can quickly find answers to their health and safety questions.


Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.