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How do you become a Professional Banksman in the UK?

Working as a banksman or signaller in construction can be a fulfilling career choice. As a banksman, you will be responsible for directing heavy equipment on construction sites, ensuring the safety of workers and pedestrians. You will act as the eyes and ears of crane operators, and your role will be important in maintaining a safe and efficient work environment. They also indicate the driver’s intention to pedestrians, thereby ensuring the safety of all personnel at the worksite. If you want to pursue a career as a banksman, here is everything you need to know to get started.

Whois Banksman?

A Banksman is a trained professional whose primary responsibility is directing vehicle movement in and around a worksite. They are also commonly known as traffic marshals. Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers often face visibility challenges while manoeuvring their vehicles due to constantly changing blind spots. The Banksman plays a crucial role in ensuring safety by using universally recognised hand signals to direct the driver safely in the intended direction, particularly while reversing.

Proper Training

In order to become a banksman, it’s important to receive the right training to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge. This includes learning how to communicate effectively with crane operators and understanding the signals used on construction sites. Several training providers offer banksman courses, and it’s crucial to choose a course accredited by industry bodies such as the Construction Plant Competence Scheme or the National Plant Operators Register Scheme.

Understanding the Job of a Banksman

Before deciding to pursue a career as a banksman, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities involved in this role. As a banksman, you must have physical fitness to direct the movement of machinery and vehicles on construction sites. Further, excellent communication skills and working effectively in a team are essential. With the right training and experience, you can build a successful career as a banksman in the construction industry.

Gain Experience

If you aspire to become a banksman, having some prior experience on construction sites can be beneficial. Working as a labourer or site operative can help you understand the workings of construction sites and the machinery used in the process. Besides, you can learn from a qualified banksman as an assistant banksman.

Obtain your CSCS Card

Before stepping on a construction site, you must get a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. The card validates your qualifications and training to work on a construction site. To obtain the card, you must pass a health and security test and provide proof of your qualifications and training. It is essential to have a CSCS card to work on a construction site.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Banksman

A banksman plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of vehicle and mobile plant operations. The essential duties and responsibilities of a banksman normally include:

  • Regarding work operations involving vehicles and mobile plants, a bankman can offer crucial guidance to drivers and operators. The banksman must guide them from a safe location where they can maintain visual contact throughout the operation. If, at any point, the driver or operator loses sight of the banksman; they must immediately stop the manoeuvre. 
  • In order to ensure the safety of work activities and the environment, it is important to uphold control measures. This requires a good understanding of the risk assessment and knowledge of the controls put in place by the duty holder to reduce risks. For instance, knowing the layout and usage of vehicle and pedestrian routes, identifying obstructions in the area, understanding the visibility limitations of vehicles and mobile plants, adhering to speed limits, and more. By following these measures, we can ensure a safe and secure work environment for everyone involved.
  • Their primary responsibility is to assess the risks involved in the operation and report any issues. They are also expected to follow the training and preparation protocols to ensure both the banksman and driver coordinate well during the manoeuvre. 
  • By using an established system of signals, the banksman directs the driver or operator during the operation. The Health and Safety (Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 specify the hand and verbal signals that are commonly used by banksman. However, they can use a different signalling system if they and the driver agree to it. Sometimes, the banksman may use verbal signals instead of hand signals, especially when the operation involves large vehicles or mobile plants.
  • When carrying out operations, it is important to ensure that the area is free from other individuals, such as workers and pedestrians, to prevent any accidents or injuries. 
  • The duties and responsibilities of a banksman may include contributing to the risk assessment process if they possess relevant experience. 
  • Employers are encouraged to seek verbal input from banksman during risk assessment. However, it is important to note that the employer, not the banksman, is legally obligated to conduct a risk assessment and implement controls for vehicles and mobile plants.

Job Applications

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a banksman, acquiring the appropriate training, experience, and qualifications is important. You can search for job openings related to construction by browsing online job boards and local newspapers or contacting reputable recruitment agencies. Attending industry events and job fairs and networking with industry professionals can also be beneficial in terms of making new connections and staying up-to-date on new job opportunities.

Continuous Learning

In order to excel in the field of construction, it is crucial to enhance your knowledge and skills continuously. Attending workshops and training sessions can help you stay up-to-date with the latest tools, equipment, market trends, and industry standards. This will enable you to progress in your career and compete for better job opportunities.

If you aspire to become a banksman, obtaining the right training, experience, and qualifications is imperative. It is essential to clearly understand the job responsibilities and required skills and gain hands-on experience in construction sites. Once you have fulfilled the necessary educational and experience requirements, you can start applying for banking jobs and climb the ladder of success. It is essential to keep learning and honing your skills to stay on par with the ever-evolving job market.

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