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BANKSMAN DIED DURING VEHICLE REVERSING OPERATION

Proper training required when relying on banksman during reversing

A company has been fined £30,000 after a worker died when he was trapped between a reversing lorry and a wall.

He was working as a banksman guiding a reversing heavy goods delivery vehicle towards a doorway when he was struck by the vehicle. He died at the scene from crush injuries to his chest.

Banksman not needed

Milton Keynes Crown Court heard that Mr Evans had not received training as a banksman. HSE investigators found there was no specific need for a banksman during the reversing operation, however, use of a banksman had become customary at the site.

Trevett Engineering Limited, of Bletchley, Bucks pleaded guilty to breaching HSW ACt Section 2(1) and was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,630.

HSE Inspector, Karl Howes said:

“This tragic case illustrates the risks that are associated with deliveries and reversing vehicles. It is vital that employers fully assess the risks involved in deliveries to site.

Banksman should only be used when there are no safer available methods to control reversing and then only when people have been fully trained to undertake that role.”

Comment

The majority of construction transport accidents result from the inadequate separation of pedestrians and vehicles. This can usually be avoided by careful planning, particularly at the design stage, and by controlling vehicle operations during construction work. However, separation is not always practicable.

If vehicles reverse in areas where pedestrians cannot be excluded the risk is elevated and visibility becomes a vital consideration. A properly trained banksman (signaller) is only one possible precaution. You should also consider:

  • Aids for drivers – mirrors, CCTV cameras or reversing alarms that can help drivers can see movement all round the vehicle;
  • Lighting – so that drivers and pedestrians on shared routes can see each other easily. Lighting may be needed after sunset or in bad weather;
  • Clothing – pedestrians on site should wear high-visibility clothing.

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