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Crane Operators And Signalpersons – Are They Talking The Same Language?

Crane operators generally don’t work alone. In many instances, it’s impossible for a crane operator to work alone, they simply can’t get a clear vision of the load, any obstacles, or people moving around them. When it comes to lower a load into a precise position, it’s impossible to do it alone. Crane operators spend most of their working lives as a part of a team, and their best friend in that team is the signalperson.

These days, it’s not uncommon for a construction site to have several people who can work as signalpersons. They will have other duties such as heavy equipment operations that they will normally work at, only switching to a signalperson when required. A signalperson’s job is one of precision and clear communication. The crane operator relies on that signalperson to tell them when to raise and lower the load, and when it is safe to swing the load sideways – if the signalperson gets it all wrong, then there is the potential for a serious accident.

What is most important is that the crane operator and signalperson are both talking the same language. If the signalperson signals up slowly, the crane operator clearly understands and complies; likewise, when the signalperson signals a stop, the crane operator stops. This means the crane operator is keeping a very close eye on the signalperson whilst watching everything else.

Rigger and signalperson training and qualification is now a requirement for those working in these positions. Fortunately, the training and assessment is not too onerous. A construction company have the entire crew trained and qualified (with a compliance card issued for each worker) in eight to twelve hours. Certification can take up to 36 hours, however, it is a more comprehensive training program that leads to certification of riggers and signalpersons.

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