According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), almost a quarter of all fatal incidents involving workplace vehicles occur during reversing*. To reduce the risk of incidents and near misses, we encouraging employers to implement suitable site rules and effective Vehicle Banksman and Yardshunter training.
Any vehicle movement poses a risk but this is especially true when in confined spaces or around other people. Add in the complexity of reversing and there is increased potential for incidents and near misses.
While the HSE statistics cover fatalities taking place on the working site, this may not fully take into account incidents occurring on the road or in public places. In fact, several high profile incidents involving reversing refuse vehicles have been reported recently.
In 2015, a transport company was fined £500,000 following an incident where an employee acting as banksman was seriously injured and the HSE found that processes on that site were not only endangering employees but also members of the public. This highlights just how important it is to have fully trained employees and safe practises when it comes to manoeuvring vehicles.
We encourage employers to consider the following questions in order to improve safety when reversing trucks. Addressing these areas also helps employers to improve and maintain compliance with relevant workplace safety legislation, which may prove vital in the event of an incident.
1. Can you reduce risk with rules?
Site rules driven by safety can help to reduce the risk of an incident. However, rules are only effective if they are observed and acted upon, so employees must be trained to be fully aware of any safety guidelines. Supervisors and managers must be similarly aware to ensure rules and processes are being followed.
2. Are your employees educated?
While certain technologies, such as reversing alarms or sensor systems are useful, a human solution geared toward the safe movement of vehicles is the most effective way to put safety first and ensure rules are followed. In the event of an incident, it is also essential that an employer can prove adequate training has been provided.
Drivers should be trained to understand the risks when reversing a vehicle. In addition, employees acting as a Vehicle Banksman (reversing assistant) or Yardshunter must receive correct training to ensure they have a clear system of signalling and communication, are aware of the various hazards and understand how to direct a vehicle to manoeuvre safely.
3. Do your trainers need training?
Whether training takes place in-house or externally, to protect the business and prevent injuries and fines, companies must ensure that those delivering Banksman or Vehicle Yardshunter training are suitably qualified to do so. The RTITB Instructor Academy supports companies looking to train their trainers, with courses to enable trainers to qualify as an RTITB Yardshunter Instructor or RTITB Banksman Instructor.
Implementing the right processes and training can help businesses to mitigate both the cost and impact on productivity that can occur due to incidents causing damage to vehicles, infrastructure and stock.
However, above all, putting these best practises into place can help to minimise injuries to employees and members of the public and this must be a priority for employers. The RTITB Instructor Academy RTITB Yardshunter Instructor and RTITB Banksman Instructor which can be delivered on a company’s premises or at their dedicated training centre in the West Midlands, Shropshire. Vehicle Banksman training and Yardshunter training courses are also available.