Essential Crane Safety Procedures: The Vital Role of Crane Operator Hand Signals

In the dynamic and demanding world of construction, safety takes precedence above all else. One of the critical elements ensuring safety on construction sites involving tower cranes is the precise and effective use of hand signals. These signals act as the silent language between crane operators and signalers, enabling seamless communication and preventing potential hazards.

Why Hand Signals Matter:

Necessity for Hand Signals in Crane Operations

Tower cranes operate in environments where clear visibility might be compromised. Factors like distance, obstacles or noisy surroundings can hinder direct verbal communication between the crane operator and ground personnel. In such scenarios, hand signals become an indispensable part of crane safety procedures, providing immediate and unambiguous instructions.

Qualified Signalers on Construction Sites

Effective signalers play a pivotal role in ensuring safety. These individuals should be properly trained, knowledgeable about the specific signals, and capable of commanding attention amidst the site’s activities. Anyone who is giving signals should wear the appropriate clothing (such as a badge) to signify that he or she is the one in authority. In order to avoid potential confusion, only one signaller should be present at any given time. In the event that directions are being shared between two or more individuals, it is important that the operator knows which one is currently responsible for providing directions. Qualifications are crucial in preventing accidents and maintaining a smooth workflow and at Emerson Cranes we offer a CPCS Slinger Signaller Course (A40) which you can sign up for here, as well as other crane training courses.

Obligations of the Signaler

Signalers carry significant responsibilities. Their primary duty is to ensure that signals are clear, concise and easily understood by the crane operator. They must possess a thorough understanding of crane operations and be vigilant about potential hazards, always prioritising safety above all else.

Some obligations which aim to avoid serious mistakes include:

  • The signaller must remain in eye contact with the crane operator.
  • Both the load and the crane must be in view of the signaller at all times.
  • The signaller should prevent any other personnel from entering the immediate area.
  • Attention must be paid to the operator as opposed to the load being manipulated.

Role of the Crane Operator

While the signaler provides crucial instructions, the crane operator shoulders the responsibility of interpreting and executing these signals accurately. Their role is not just about manoeuvring the crane but also involves constant vigilance and responsiveness to the signals relayed to them.

Essential Signals:

While there are numerous crane operator hand signals which may be used on a regular basis, some are crucial in order to avoid damages, accidents or personal injuries. Three examples include:

  • Stop
  • Emergency stop
  • Dog everything

The “stop” signal is associated with a single extended arm with the palm facing down. This arm will then be swung back and forth. The other arm will remain at the side of the signaller.

“Emergency stop” equates to both arms being extended vertically from the sides of the body. These arms are then swung vigorously back and forth in order to grab the attention of the operator.

The “dog everything” signal is defined as hands being clasped in front of the body while remaining held at the waistline. This signal essentially instructs the operator to immediately stop any tasks that he or she is performing.

Crane Training

Whether you’re interested in crane operation, signalling or any number of construction site qualifications, Emerson Cranes provides a range of courses from their training centre including:

  • CPCS Slinger Signaller Course (A40): This course lasts no more than five days and is adapted to the skill level of the student. We have options for complete novices as well as for experienced signallers who need a qualification.
  • Slinger Signaller (A95) Upgrade Course: If you passed your Slinger Signaller A95 test before 2015 you will now require an upgrade course which covers slinger positioning in relation to load & machine and how to keep a load under control during movement.
  • Other courses: We have a wide range of other courses such as CPCS, SiteRight, ALLMI and NVQ courses which you can sign up for to improve your qualifications.

At Emerson Cranes safety is our priority

The use of correct hand signals in crane operations is not just a procedure, but a vital component in crane safety procedures, ensuring the wellbeing of everyone on the construction site. Effective communication through these signals, when coupled with qualified signalers and vigilant crane operators, forms the backbone of accident prevention and efficient workflow.

At Emerson Cranes we uphold the most stringent safety standards in every aspect of our business: from crane hire to training. For more information on any of our services or crane training courses, please get in touch on 020 8548 3900.