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Hand Signals for Crane Operation

Hand Signals for Crane Operation

When it comes to crane operation, there’s a lot that can go wrong when operators and crew members are not properly trained in safety protocols. To counteract this, both the signal callers and operators of a crane need to be versed in proper OSHA hand signals in order to make sure that there is no confusion when the machinery is actually being operated. 

It’s not going to end well if the signal-caller is signaling “EMERGENCY STOP” and the operator interprets this as “SPEED UP!” Below is a list of essential crane signals which every operator and signal-caller must know, straight from OSHA’s handbook.

 

OSHA Hand Signals for Crane Operation:

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Raise the Boom and Lower the Load: With arm extended horizontally to the side and thumb pointing up, fingers open and close while load movement is desired.

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Emergency Stop: With both arms extended horizontally to the side, palms down, arms are swung back and forth.

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Swing: With arm extended horizontally, index finger points in the direction that boom is to swing.

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Dog Everything: Hands held together at waist level.

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Hoist: With upper arm extended to the side, forearm and index finger pointing straight up, hand and finger make small circles.

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Lower: With arm and index finger pointing down, hand and finger making small circles.

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Move Slowly: A hand is placed in front of the hand that is giving the action signal.

 

 

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Lower Boom: With arm extended horizontally to the side, the thumb points down with other fingers closed

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Lower the Boom and Raise the Load: With arm extended horizontally to the side and thumb pointing down, fingers open and close while load movement is desired.

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Extend Telescoping Boom: With hands to the front at waist level, thumbs point outward with other fingers closed.

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Retract Telescoping Boom: With hands to the front at waist level, thumbs point at each other with other fingers closed.

                     

                                                         

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Use Main Hoist: A hand taps on top of the head. Then the regular signal is given to indicate the desired action.

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Use Auxiliary Hoist: 

(whipline) With the arm bent at the elbow and the forearm vertical, the elbow is tapped with the other hand. Then the regular signal is used to indicate the desired action.

Additional Signals

It’s something to remember that, while these basic signals are the universal standard for hand signals, this list does have to be all-encompassing. While not usually recommended, if the operator and signal callers agree upon additional hand signals, and those are emphasized consistently, such additional signals can be added in order to fit the individual worksite.

The Importance of Workplace Safety

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2011-2017, there was an average number of 42 deaths per year in the United States which involved cranes. It Is important to note all of the dangers which are present on a worksite, especially when operating several pieces of heavy machinery. 

This includes onsite hazards, untrained personnel, faulty equipment setup, issues with transportation, and poor communication resulting in employees being struck by, crushed by, or pinned by equipment. 

We at Parker’s Crane Service pride ourselves on safety and our Zero Accident Philosophy and conduct many detailed safety measures when performing a job in order to make sure that no project carries unnecessary risk. This is evidenced by our superb EMR and TRIR ratings. 

Because of our emphasis on safety, with every single job, we perform various levels of pre-planning, including:

  • Pre-lift job assessments
  • Daily risk assessment
  • On-site hazard analyses
  • Routine management audits    

Likewise, as mentioned previously, knowing the correct hand signals could be the difference between a crane successfully transporting a load and careening into an exposed power line. Thus, it is vital that contractors and job site managers employ operators and signal callers who are adept in these signals. 

This is why the team here at Parker’s Crane Service recommends hiring qualified personnel whenever operating heavy machinery such as this and why we are always ready to supply certified CCO Operators, Riggers, and Signal Persons to businesses seeking a crane rental.