CRANE HAND SIGNALS
When should the crane operator follow hand
A crane operator should always move loads
according to the established code of signals, and use a trained and competent signal person. Hand
signals are preferred and commonly used, unless they cannot see the load
or the place where the load will be set, safely and reasonably. If
there is any question on your ability to see the signal man or the load
another signal person should be used. Use of a radio is preferred.
Who can give the hand signals? or Who
can be a signal person?
a person qualified to give crane signals to the
there should be only one designated signaler at
a time, unless one cannot see the other
if signalers are changing between each other,
the one in charge should wear a clearly visible badge of authority,
or the crew and operator are fully aware of the main signal person.
a crane operator should move loads only on
signals from one signaler, Although an emergency stop or stop from
anyone calls for a pause in movement until safety and situation is
a crane operator must obey STOP signals
no matter who gives it.
What should you do when in charge
points up, hand & forearm make a small circular motion.
Swing the boom.
Outstretched arm with index finger (or four fingers) pointing in the desired direction,try to keep thumbs in
One hand is
held flat, palm down, over the other hand which has a pointed
index finger making a circular motion under the palm area
Raise the boom
- Hold the load.
Outstretched arm, thumb pointing up, hand opening & closing.
One hand is
held flat, palm up, with the other hand having a downward
pointed index finger making a circular motion over the palm area
Lower the boom.
Outstretched arm, fingers clenched with thumb pointing down.
arm, fingers clenched with thumb pointing up.
Both arms outstretched, fingers clenched with both thumbs pointing
outstretched, fingers clenched with both thumbs pointing inward.
Walk the crane forward.
Forearms circling forward, away from the body.
Reverse the motion to walk the crane backward.
together, slowly rubbing.
Arms Crossed Waving
extended, palm down, starting folded in front of your chest extending outward
Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Elevators, and
Supervisors duck and dodge all
the time allowing someone else top "hold the
John Thiele's reply....
All the training in the world will not solve this problem with
supervision!!!!!!!!!! In my 24 years as an operator, inspector, trainer and
expert witness, I have found that there is really only 3 safe work places.
Gas/oil refineries, chemical plants where accidents lead to catastrophic
lose of equipment, loss of life and evacuations. Accidents at these plants
usually cost millions of dollars and crane safety is given top priority.
Or, construction sites where top, not middle management have experienced a
major crane accident that involves loss of life or major set backs to the
project. Only then, in construction, is crane safety given priority!!
You mentioned young operators second guessing themselves or being intimated.
This even happens to the seasoned operator. Operators need to put food on
the table and all to often they are faced with intimidation to make a lift
that is potentially dangerous. By this I mean being talked into the lift
because the crawler crane they are running is rated at 75% of tipping so
they will let some one watch the tracks and alert the operator when the
tracks move. After all they have 25% to play with don't they? Or using a
spreader beam that is not certified but the load to be picked has the
potential to come apart. Maybe the spreader beam is built in a way that it
will lift 25 times the weight to be lifted. But, if the load comes apart
and hurts or kills someone it will be the operators fault. After all who
designed the lifting beam? Who designed where the pick points must be to
lift this load? I have even seen safety people not stand behind operators
that where in the right. I guess they have to have a job, too, right?
If you over load a crane just once, you could be in fact loading the chamber
with the potential bullet that can kill on the next lift, a week later, six
There are so many hidden dangers in the operation of a crane. A crane
operator has to know and understand the meaning of potential danger and be
on guard against what can happen. I know that crane operations come with
many risks. Every lift has the potential to kill. But, the reality of the
crane industry is: If you have an accident in most cases you're fired. If
you refuse to make an unsafe lift you are fired. And there is always some
young or old operator that will step right up to the challenge and make the
lift or have to go home knowing he made a lift that was turned down by
another operator and he hurt or killed someone or caused major damage.
Regulations and load charts are meant to be followed not played with. If an
operator has an accident it is almost always 95% operator error or 5%
equipment failure. Even the experienced operator makes mistakes. He may
miscalculate the load chart, become complacent in the task at hand, get just
a little too fast with the swing or booming operation.
I know some of you may say every lift is potentially dangerous and this is
very true. But, the load chart is there for the safe operation of the
crane. That means the crane can do 100% of the listed chart minus the
deductions and not a pound over, period!!!!!! Supervision does not
understand this!! You can show them this in the load chart and they will
tell you, "just try it and see how far you can go with it"! Have any of you
ever hear that one? This problem is not getting any better even with all
the training that is being done. It is truly ashamed that someone has to
lose their life or millions of dollars are lost before supervision wakes up.
Just my two cents,
Hope this helps.
The CROSBY GROUP
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