What is a Vehicle Banksman?

Most companies have some traffic movements on their sites to a varying degree. For some this involves only a few small to medium vehicles every day. For others it involves constant vehicle movements with vehicles of varying size, from cars and vans to articulated lorries.

With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that nearly a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur while the vehicle is reversing.

Many companies however have little or no controls in place for vehicle movements on their premises. In my years as a health and safety consultant I’ve witnessed uncontrolled vehicle movements on sites more times than I care to remember.

I’ve had numerous reports of accidents involving vehicle movements, some have involved vehicles hitting buildings or other structures such as racking, others have unfortunately involved the hitting of persons resulting in serious life changing injuries and death.


Vehicle Movement

Companies should therefore carry out a risk assessment for vehicle movements on their site and ensure controls are in place to ensure the safe movement of vehicles. One way of controlling vehicles is to have trained Banksmen. Banksmen are operatives trained to direct vehicle movement on or around site. They are often called traffic marshals.

Banksman training ensures that an organisation meets its legal requirements and reduces the risk of costly accidents when carrying out common, but dangerous, reversing maneuvers.

A Vehicle Banksman will be the eyes and ears of the driver and make sure any maneuvers they make are safe and don’t put the driver or anyone else in danger. The Banksman communicates with the driver via a radio link or pre-arranged hand signals. By doing this the Banksman can inform the driver of what is going on around the vehicle since they may not have a complete view or clear visibility.


Duties of a Vehicle Banksman

A Vehicle Banksman can also be called upon for many other duties such as directing traffic in and around the site.

The importance and responsibility of this job means it requires Banksmen to be fully trained. In turn, the training for any Vehicle Banksman needs to be thorough and comprehensive. It’s essential to have knowledge of all the health and safety aspects associated with this job. This includes things like:

  • Knowing what responsibilities a Vehicle Banksman has

  • The main causes of accidents

  • How to prevent common accidents

  • Understanding equipment and machinery

  • The correct procedures for maneuvering equipment

It’s a job which is always in demand and highly valued, not just by employers but by work colleagues. A Vehicle Banksman has the important responsibility of trying to ensure accidents don’t happen. The other side of this is that being a Vehicle Banksman can be an extremely rewarding job, one which repays training with giving any individual a fulfilling, rewarding and satisfying role in the workplace.

For more information on Vehicle Banksmen contact the PSM Health & Safety team via email psm.enquiries@alcumusgroup.com or call 01484 439930.

Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health & safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Written by Steve Scott, Health & Safety Consultant