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Who Comes with the Crane You’ve Rented? Dogmen, Riggers, Signalers, and Crane Operators Explained

Who Comes with the Crane You’ve Rented? Dogmen, Riggers, Signalers, and Crane Operators Explained

Construction and work sites that necessitate heavy equipment to get the job done can be busy and dangerous places to work safely. Engineering and technology advancements have made the worksites safer, but if safety and training aren’t kept at the forefront, the risk of accident increases. 

Cranes are complicated, highly technical pieces of equipment that take a great deal of maintenance, site preparation, and training to operate safely. Accidents during operation can cause property damage that impacts your project's schedule and cost and can easily cause severe injury or death.

Whether you operate your own crane or rent for a specific part of the project, it is essential that you understand the personnel necessary for safe lift operations.  


Who Comes with the Crane You’ve Rented?

It can be easy for those who have never rented a crane before to think that a crane rental comes with just the machine and an operator. Due to the inherent dangers posed by poorly managed lifts, however, crane rentals involve a number of other personnel to ensure the safety of everyone on site. 

When you rent a crane, the rental business should provide you with qualified personnel covering the following roles:

  • Crane Operator
  • Signaler
  • Dogmen
  • Riggers

Your crane rental company will also take responsibility for safe crane erection and maintenance throughout your rental period. But these are the personnel you will be working with onsite. Each provides a crucial part of safe and efficient operation, so let’s take a look at each worker's job and required qualifications.

1. Crane Operators

Probably the first and most obvious of the personnel is the crane operator. Their primary job is to drive or operate the crane during lifts safely. But that is not all the responsibilities they have on the job site. Crane operators perform the following tasks before and after lifts:

  • Inspection of crane equipment for maintenance concerns
  • Perform minor maintenance as needed
  • Daily check of ground conditions and proper outrigger pad deployment
  • Verification of safe load limits
  • Communication with other personnel and managers about safety

Operators are the center of crane work on-site. Your rental company must provide one that meets national certification requirements. 

OSHA mandates that all crane operators must be nationally certified and then repass certification every five years. Be aware that some states require additional certification and licensure. 

When deciding on a rental company, look for certifications from at least one of the following:

  • National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO)
  • Crane Institute Certification (CIC)
  • Operating Engineers Certification Program (OECP)
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)

2. Signalers

Proper communication is the key to safety throughout crane operation, especially while a lift is in process. There may be times when the crane operator does not have a direct line of sight of the load. In those times, they rely on trained signal-callers. 

Construction sites can be incredibly loud, and you shouldn’t depend on verbal communication, even over the radio.

Signalers and operators are trained using OSHA standard hand signals to ensure that there is no confusion between personnel while a crane lift operation is underway. A signal person on-site has a dedication to providing communication between all members of the crane operation.

If you plan to have a crane on-site for an extended period of time, we recommend getting your own crew up to speed on these hand signals, so they can navigate around the lift area safer.

3. Riggers

Just as the name implies, riggers are specialists in loading and slinging lifts. They determine the best equipment for safely performing lifts based on mass, size, and center of gravity and ensure that materials are properly secured. 

Key duties for riggers before, during, and after a lift include:

  • Inspecting lifting gear before and after lifts for damage
  • Identifying hazards for each lift and utilizing proper risk mitigation strategies
  • Set up, use, and dismantle rigging equipment
  • Estimation of load weight and determining if it is within safety tolerances
  • Ensuring overall load security and stability during the lift

Just like operators and signalers, riggers should be skilled in hand signals. Your crane rental should provide you with qualified riggers when you rent a machine. There is no national certification required for riggers. However, many of the same organizations that offer training and certification for operators also do so for riggers. 

These workers have grounded experience in all aspects of basic rigging but can often specialize in certain types of lifts. Advanced rigging work involves working with multiple machines, mechanical loading techniques, installation and removal of cranes and hoists, as well as demolition activities. If you know your job is going to require a complex lift, make sure your rental has personnel with experience.

4. Dogmen

The Dogman or ‘dogger’ is a mix of the signaling and rigger roles. The term doesn’t come from the animal but rather a mechanical device used for gripping. 

Popularized in the 1940s in Australia, it is a job title that you hear worldwide. The Dogmen is a versatile member of any crane crew that provides the following to the site:

  • Knowledge and implementation of proper slinging techniques
  • Determination of load weight and lifting hazards
  • Selection of gear and pre-lift tests
  • Gives signal direction of the operator during the lift

Dogmen should have the same experience requirements as a rigger, though they may lack advanced rigging experience. 

Qualified, Experienced Crane Rental Service

Parker's Crane Service has you covered if you need safe, reliable hydraulic truck cranes and personnel in North Carolina and surrounding states. Our fleet is backed by professional staff, a focus on safety, and a Zero Accident Philosophy

We provide equipment that is well maintained and services for risk management and safety programs. All of our operators, riggers, and signal persons are OSHA-qualified personnel.

Contact us today if you would like to discuss your needs and whether or not our services and equipment will work for your construction project. We provide free on-site quotes and evaluations.