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How you can stop workplace deaths due to reversing vehicles

How does a failsafe brake system work?

Posted on 20th Dec, 2018 by Dominic Benabda

According to annual statistics by the British Health and Safety Executive, collisions with moving vehicles still accounts for a major cause of deaths in the workplace. Over the last 5 years, these sorts of accidents made up around 18% of fatal workplace injuries. This equates to roughly 26 people a year – or one every two weeks. Agriculture was the industry most notably affected by these accidents, but the municipal and waste management sectors can be particularly vulnerable to them too, given the strict schedules of their operations.

Here at Vision Techniques, our entire ethos is based upon our commitment to eliminating fatal accidents, which has been the driving force behind the development of our range of vehicle safety products. Certain products, such as our reversing radars, are regarded as practically essential equipment for municipal fleet operators, and their safety potential can be maximised by adhering to the following recommended workplace practices.

1. Minimise the need for unnecessary manoeuvring

One of the easiest ways to minimise the potential for collision is to minimise the amount of reversing and manoeuvring required in the first place. For this reason, if you have vehicles moving in your warehouses or across your premises on a regular basis, it’s worth considering whether you can change the environment to make drivers’ lives easier. For example, can you set up one-way systems like drive-through loading and unloading positions? This can serve to make vehicle movement through your premises even more predictable, maximising the safety benefit for your employees.

2. Mark clear routes

Of course, certain businesses will have less freedom than others to make such significant changes to their layout, especially if they’re operating in publicly-owned buildings or premises (as is often the case with municipal services). If you’ve not got the flexibility to establish one-way systems, at the very least you’ll need to ensure that all routes for vehicles and pedestrians are clearly marked, with no room for interpretation. The principle is simple enough when you consider it: essentially, pedestrians need to have the ability to move freely and safely around your space, at minimum risk from surrounding vehicles. Therefore, whenever pedestrians are traversing the same routes as HGVs, there needs to be sufficient separation between walkways and roadways. You may choose to use simple markings for this, or even physical barriers if necessary.

3. Ensure that all banksmen are properly trained

Some industries rely on banksmen more heavily than others, partially because in some cases the vehicles in question are so large and cumbersome that they make the task unsafe. Though the task looks relatively simple, it should never be undertaken by someone without the requisite training, as misunderstandings can often lead to (sometimes fatal) accidents. They need to be well-versed in the use of standard manoeuvring signals, and properly equipped with hi-visibility jackets to ensure that the driver is always able to instantly tell whether or not they are in view.

Because of the nature of their job, professional banksmen are often exposed to risks of vehicle collision on a daily basis, which can lead to life-changing injuries. Here at Vision Techniques, we’re on a mission to change that with our core product range, which includes our innovative VT Banksman – a pioneering auto-braking system that instantly applies the brakes once an object or person enters the predefined ‘danger zone’ within the vehicle’s rear perimeter.

The VT Banksman has been specially developed by our experts here at Vision Techniques, and is just one amongst our market-leading range of vehicle safety products. In our next post, we’ll be going into more detail about which of our specific products can help you to further secure the safety of your workforce in a municipal environment. In the meantime, you can click here to browse our products for yourself, and if you need any advice or guidance, you can always call a friendly member of our team in 08450 041 562. We’re here to help!