What does it take to be a slinger…?
The below is a description of the roles and responsibilities of a slinger/signaller, as you will see it is a role that is extremely important in the safe operations of cranes and lifting equipment.
Clear and precise communication plays a vital part of completing a job successfully and safely and this is accomplished by having a toolbox talk and a pre-approved lifting plan discussed and signed onto before the lift commences, with hand signals and verbal instructions sometimes using 2 or 3 way radios during the operation
The role of the slinger/signaller is to connect lifting accessories to the hook of lifting equipment (crane) and to provide instructions in the form of signals or verbal communication to the crane operator while guiding a travelling load from the lifting point to the landing point, or a part of the total distance required.
Slinger/signallers may work with a variety of lifting equipment but, within the construction sector, mainly with tower or mobile-type cranes which are equipped with a hook block suspended from hoist ropes and can slew through 360 degrees. The slinger/signaller is an integral and important part of any lifting team and should have the necessary authority to carry out their role.
It is also important for all those involved in the lifting operation, including the slinger/signaller, to be informed of the contents and required actions. They must take note of the contents of the lift plan during the briefing and what is required of them, as they may notice an error or that something is not correct or missing. The slinger/signaller should immediately relay any concerns about the lift plan to the lift supervisor or appointed person/lift planner if they are present.
The slinger/signaller is expected to check all relevant accessories for damage before work begins. Failure to properly check accessories could mean that an incident or injuries occur because a faulty accessory can make each lift unsafe. The lift plan should specify the type and size of the lifting accessory to be used including the Safe Working Load (SWL) of each accessory. As a member of a lifting team, the slinger/signaller sometimes assist the crane operator in setting up and operating their machine, and can act as an additional pair of eyes to ensure safe margins are not exceeded. For example, where numerous cranes are working close to each other, the slinger/signaller may assist a crane operator in ensuring that the jib or boom of their crane does not collide with other cranes both before and during work.