Home / Blogs / What your LGV/HGV Drivers need to know about working with a Banksman

What your LGV/HGV Drivers need to know about working with a Banksman

Blogs | 25th Aug 2022
yardshunter Instructor

Reversing manoeuvres are very dangerous. According to HSE (Health and Safety Executive), almost a quarter of all deaths involving vehicles at work occur during reversing.

The HSE advice is clear – avoid reversing if possible. And where reversing is necessary and a person is assisting the manoeuvre, this individual must be correctly trained as a Banksman.

So how can you ensure effective Driver-Banksman relationships?

Here are three things to address with your drivers that can help.

  1. Make sure drivers understand what a banksman does

Some LGV/HGV drivers are not clear about the role of the Banksman. Or why their role is critical to safety.

Trained Banksmen can help by:

  • Supporting drivers to position their reversing vehicle correctly in the required area
  • Watching for pedestrians and other vulnerable site users, such as MHE (Materials Handling Equipment) operators. These people may approach or stray into the reversing area
  • Having an awareness of hazards that might encroach on the operating area. Then, taking the appropriate action to ensure safety
  • Keeping themselves safe during reversing manoeuvres. Both with respect to the vehicle they are guiding and other vehicles/equipment
  1. Teach your drivers the importance of clear communication

Before beginning reversing operations, LGV/HGV drivers must agree the process with the Banksman. This includes:

  • the signals to be used
  • the action to take if the driver loses sight of the banksman
  • actions to take if a signal is unclear

In addition, the driver should maintain visual contact with the Banksman throughout the reversing manoeuvre. Otherwise, they may have to stop and relocate the banksman before continuing. They cannot simply keep turning and expect to see the banksman appear in another mirror.

The banksman will help by selecting safe positions where they can be seen but remain at a safe distance from the manoeuvring vehicle. To make this easier, they will also wear high visibility clothing and safety footwear.

A trained Banksman also takes additional steps to make the reversing process safe. For example, they will have already identified an escape route in case of an emergency.

It is important for drivers to remember to be patient with banksman. They should always pay attention to the information they provide. A banksman knows their site, just like the driver knows their vehicle.

  1. Remind your drivers that a banksman provides their “eyes on the ground”

Many improvements have been made over the years to improve the driver’s field of vision. Yet, none are fool proof. Safety requires human intervention. In this case, from a Banksman.

LGV/HGV drivers should already be aware of the factors that make reversing challenging. For instance, blind spots and vehicle dimensions. However, they must appreciate that the depth of vision is different when looking in a mirror. The driver’s perception will be different to the Banksman’s. A Banksman’s “eyes on the ground” are therefore critical.

Drivers should not rely only on technology to assist them. For example, if the banksman goes out of sight, the driver should not rely on sensors to pick them up.

A well-trained Banksman understands the limitations of the driver and vehicle. They will act as if the vehicle has no additional systems or mirrors to provide full support during reversing.  Correctly trained Banksmen will also understand the differences in reversing a rigid vehicle and an articulated vehicle. Knowing the different visibility issues, for examples, helps them to support safer reversing.

Managing Driver-Banksman relationships with Driver CPC training

Working with a trained Banksman reduces the risk of a reversing incident. However, reversing always carries risk. For safer sites, training is key.

RTITB’s Driver CPC Periodic Training module called “Reducing Reversing Incidents” can help support LGV/HGV drivers. It teaches drivers about the specific risks and safety issues involved in reversing. It also covers how working closely with the banksman reduces risks.

Topics covered in this module include:

  • Introduction to the Vehicle Banksman Role
  • Reversing
  • Vehicle Banksman Duties
  • Guiding the Vehicle

Members of the RTITB Driver CPC Consortium can access this and many other Driver CPC Periodic Training topics through the RTITB Driver CPC Portal.

It has everything Instructors and Trainers need to build customised Driver CPC training courses. Presentations, role play, discussions, and videos can also be used to meet the needs of the particular drivers they are training.

Request a free 30-day trial of the online portal now.

Or for more information, call our Driver CPC team on +44 (0) 1952 520200 or email solutions@rtitb.com.