Hand Signals That All Crane Operators Should Be Aware Of

The job of the signal person is said to be the most important job on a construction site. He is supposed to clear out the entire area and look out for potential obstacles and opportunities. It is important for him to understand the dynamics and basics of hand signalling to direct the lorry crane operator efficiently.

Moreover, he should also know the key elements of a lorry crane, such as boom rebound, lowering and raising load and swinging. With the advancement of technology, it has become necessary for signal personnel to undergo rigger and signalman course. There is no doubt in the efficiency of radios and other communicating devices, however using hand signals as a communication method has proven reliable on construction sites without interference.

Here are the basic hand signs that every crane operator and signaller must know:

  • Stop

The stop sign has to be the most important sign that you should know; you can master this technique by simply extending your arm with your palm facing down. Swing it back and forth in a horizontal direction.

  • Emergency Stop

This is similar to the regular stop however with the addition of another hand. Extend both of your arms and swing them back and forth in a horizontal direction.

  • Hoist

Extend your entire arm upwards and point your index finger towards the sky. Then make small circles using your hand and finger.

  • Raise Boom

You can do this by simply extending your right arm horizontally, with your thumb pointing upwards and rest of your fingers closed.

  • Raise Boom and Lower Load

Extend your arm, keep your thumb static while pointing it upwards. Open and close the rest of your fingers until you have reached the desired load.

  • Lower Boom

Just do what you were doing for raise boom, except pointing your thumb upwards. Position your thumb is a way that it is pointing downwards.

  • Lower Boom and Raise Load

Extend your arm and point with your thumb downwards. Now open and close your fingers until you have reached the desired load.

  • Retract Boom

Straighten your forearms and place them in front of your chest. Close your fingers and point your thumbs towards each other.

  • Swing

Extend your arm horizontally and use your index finger to mimic the swing direction of the boom.

  • Dog Everything

The easiest way to remember this sign is by putting your hands on each other and then placing them on your waist (just like the Japanese do).

  • Noise

Because of extreme noise levels at construction sites, communicating using voice is impossible. Most workers use ear and head protectors for their safety, so it is extremely difficult to understand or even hear a thing. Hand signals, on the other hand, don’t rely on sound to communicate.

  • Distance

Unless you are using electronic devices such as radios, which aren’t that reliable in case of extreme distances, verbal communication can be misheard.

  • Clarity

Hand signals minimise misunderstanding or confusion as the signal operator only uses signals to convey his message regarding the crane.

  • Speed

Signals take less time and can be interpreted easily. If the signal person is skilled, messages can be conveyed using minimum time. Sometimes it can be faster than verbal communication.

Using hand signals on the construction site has proven to be the most efficient form of communication. It has countless benefits as compared to other mediums. Also, it results in fewer on-site accidents, which are mostly caused by misunderstandings. It is imperative for construction supervisors and managers to implement this system and ensure that everyone utilises it at the site.

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