Banksman FAQ

What is a Banksman and other FAQ


In this article we will attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about a banksman. The role of a banksman in construction and what a slinger banksman does and what training is required.

Our banksman traffic awareness course covers everything in more detail.

What is a banksman and what does a banksman do?

Banksmen, often called traffic marshals or slingers (signallers), play a vital part in maintaining workplace safety. 

They are operatives trained to direct vehicle movement on or around site including supervising safe movement of vehicles and safe crane lifts. 

It is their job to ensure any manoeuvres are safe and do not endanger anybody or anything.

You will find banksmen across a number of different workplaces, including: construction sites; docks; factories; and warehouses.

When is a trained vehicle banksman required?

A vehicle banksman job is to minimise possible risks to personnel and equipment by:

  • Managing traffic to avoid excess queueing.
  • Directing movement of vehicles and loads on a work site using standard hand signals and/or verbal code. Particularly large vehicles and reversing vehicles.
  • Understanding risks (e.g. blind spots) and how to manage them.
  • Recommending and laying out safe on-site traffic systems.

If any of the above risks are present then a trained vehicle banksman is required.

What is a slinger banksman job description?

Under certain circumstances banksmen are required to aid lift operators, such as cranes. When banksmen assist a lift they are often referred to as signallers or slingers. Loads moved by cranes are often called sling loads hence the term slinger for the person helping the crane operator.

What does a slinger banksman do?

When acting as a slinger or signaller, they direct the lift operator using standard signals and/or verbal code.

It is important that the slinger or signaller has been trained to use the standard hand signals or agreed verbal code. So that the crane operator is in no doubt about how to safely operate the lift.

All lifts can be hazardous when health and safety standards are not upheld. However a slinger banksman is usually only required for larger operations, such as crane lifts. 

Simple lifts such as unloading a Hiab or using a forklift do not usually require a slinger banksman.

Can a banksman stop traffic?

Normally only the police or someone they have authorised can stop or regulate traffic on the public highway. So unless authorised by the police a Banksman must not attempt to stop non- site traffic moving along the public highway or move into the road to try and slow vehicles down.

However, in some police force areas (but not in Scotland) a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) (PDF)- Portable Document Format may be in operation. Under CSAS, other organisations or companies can direct traffic on a public highway. Check the area police force website for a list of approved organisations.

For more information on traffic marshalling on the public highway try the HSE website.

Banksmen as traffic marshals.

A vehicle banksman training course or just vehicle banksman course, when successfully completed, enables people to act as traffic marshals. This means they understand how to safely control vehicle movement on sites by designing and laying out the roadways for vehicles to travel on through a site. 

A traffic marshal will endeavour to implement a one-way traffic system to facilitate the flow of a vehicle at work through the site and try to avoid pedestrian crossings to maintain safe segregation. 

They may personally direct vehicles when traffic is heavy in order to avoid excess queuing.

Further reading

Our banksman traffic awareness course covers everything in more detail.