Signal persons are essentially the eyes and ears of crane operators and have a vital role to play in guiding operations. Correct signaling and communication are crucial for preventing crane accidents from taking place. Crane operators are expected to move loads by adhering to an established code of signals while using the help of a qualified and trained signal person.
The importance of a signal person is heightened during critical lifts where the crane operator’s view is obstructed and loads are moved solely based on signals. In this blog, we discuss the importance of having a qualified signal person during crane operations.
Who can be a Signaler?
The crane signaler has to be a trained and qualified individual and not just any person on the job. There is only one signaler at any given moment and if there are two signalers who swap duties, the one in charge must have a clear form of identification. The crane operator can only follow one signaler at a time and has to obey given signals under every circumstance.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration lists the general requirements expected from a signaler under the title Cranes and Derricks in Construction, 1926 Subpart CC which are as follows:
The signaler knows and understands each type of signal used at a worksite.
The signaler is competent in using hand signals
Prior to work, the signaler has undergone evaluation by a qualified in-house or 3rd party evaluator
The signaler can demonstrate his or her knowledge either through oral, written, or practical tests
The signaler understands the crane’s operations and limitations including the dynamics involved in raising, swinging, boom deflection, stopping, and lowering loads
In addition, the signal person must always have a clear view of the crane operator and the work site as a whole. They should have a commanding voice and ensure people remain outside the crane area as well as never direct loads directly over people.
The Benefits of a Qualified Signal Person
Some of the more obvious benefits of having a qualified signal person include: speed, clarity, noise, and distance. Relying on hand signals significantly reduces the chances of miscommunication. Also, skilled signalers develop the ability to communicate messages faster than speech.
Additionally, radio systems are prone to delay or malfunction whereas hand signals are instantaneous and highly effective in noisy environments. It’s the supervisors’ duty to implement every possible measure that boosts safety and productivity.
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