If you’re going to work with tower cranes, you better know your hand signals. Clear communication is essential for staying safe on the job site.
A crane operator should always use a signaler, and they should communicate according to the established code of signals. Hand signals are preferred and commonly used. In certain cases, a signaler may be required by law, especially if the operator’s view of the intended path of travel is obstructed in any way.
Here are six essential rules for crane operators and signalers:
- Only a qualified person can be a signaler. They must be trained to give hand signals to a crane operator.
- Only one designated signaler should be assigned for each crane operation. If one signaler ever needs to be replaced by another, the one in charge should wear a clearly visible badge of authority. There should never be two active signalers.
- The crane signaler must be in clear view of the crane operator.
- The crane signaler must have a clear view of the load.
- The crane operator and signaler must both keep other persons outside of the crane operating area and never direct a load over a person.
- A crane operator must obey STOP signals no matter who gives it.
Importantly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that anyone designated as a signal person must meet certain qualifications and be evaluated by a qualified individual. These regulations, in addition to a commitment to standardized signals, have helped reshape the landscape of crane safety, with crane-related deaths falling to their lowest recorded level in 2017 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Below, we have a visual guide to basic crane hand signals, including a few signals that are particular to telescopic, crawler and tower cranes. In any case, crane hand signals are an essential part of operating a crane, whether using a small carry deck crane or a larger all-terrain crane. These basic signals are even used with the largest cranes in the world. Some crane rentals also include operators and a signal person in the cost.
Download our new “Tower Crane Hand Signals” chart here: Bigfoot Hand Signals