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Materials Handling - Crane and Hoist Hand Signals

When should the crane operator follow hand signals?

A crane operator should always move loads according to the established code of signals, and use a signaler. Hand signals are preferred and commonly used. A signaler may be required by law if the operator's view of the intended path of travel is obstructed.


Who can give the hand signals? or Who can be a signaler?

  • A person qualified to give crane signals to the operator.
  • There should be only one designated signaler at a time.
  • If signalers are changing between each other, the one in charge should wear a clearly visible badge of authority.
  • A crane operator should move loads only on signals from one signaler.
  • A crane operator must obey STOP signals no matter who gives it.

What should you do when in charge of signaling?

The signaler must:

  • Be in clear view of the crane operator.
  • Have a clear view of the load and the equipment.
  • Keep persons outside the crane's operating area.
  • Never direct a load over a person.

What are examples of some common hand signals?

Hoist: With forearm vertical, forefinger pointing up, move the hand in a small horizontal circle.

Hoist
Hoist

Lower: With an arm extended downward, forefinger pointing down, move the hand in small horizontal circles.

Lower
Lower

Multiple Trolleys: Hold up one finger for block marked "1" and two fingers for a block marked "2." Regular signals follow.

Multiple Trolleys
Multiple Trolleys

Bridge Travel: Arm extended forward, hand open and slightly raised, make a pushing motion in direction of travel.

Bridge Travel
Bridge Travel

Trolley Travel: Palm up, fingers closed, thumb pointing in direction of motion, jerk the hand horizontally.

Trolley Travel
Trolley Travel

Stop: Arm extended, palm down, hold the position rigidly.

Stop
Stop

Emergency Stop: Arm extended, palm down, move the hand rapidly right and left.

Emergency Stop
Emergency Stop

Magnet Is Disconnected! : Crane operator spreads both hands apart, palms up.

Magnet is Disconnected!
Magnet is Disconnected!

Dog Everything: Clasp hands in front of the body. Means PAUSE. This signal can be used on potentially risky occasions such as when it has started raining, when the load doesn't fit the space for which it was planned, or when a bystander gets too close to the action.

Dog Everything
Dog Everything

What are some common hand signals for crawler, truck and locomotive cranes?

Use Main Hoist: Tap fists on head; then use regular signals.

Use Main Hoist
Use Main Hoist

Use Whip Line (Auxiliary Hoist): Tap elbows with one hand; then use regular signals.

Use Whip Line
Use Whip Line

Raise Boom: Arm extended, fingers closed, thumb pointing upward.

Lower Boom: Arm extended, fingers closed, thumb pointing downward.

Swing: Point with a finger in direction of swing of a boom.

Raise Boom;  Lower Boom; Swing
Raise Boom; Lower Boom; Swing

Raise the Boom and Lower the Load: Arm extended, fingers closed, thumb pointing upward, other arm bent slightly with forefinger pointing down and rotate hand in horizontal circles.

Raise the Boom and Lower the Load
Raise the Boom and Lower the Load

Lower the Boom and Raise the Load: Arm extended, fingers closed, thumb pointing downward, other arm with forearm vertical, forefinger pointing upward and rotate the hand in horizontal circles.

Lower the Boom and Raise the Load
Lower the Boom and Raise the Load

Move Slowly: Use one hand to give any motion signal and place the other hand motionless in front of the hand giving the motion signal. (Hoist Slowly shown as example.)

Move Slowly
Move Slowly

Retract Boom (Telescoping Booms): Both fists in front of body with thumbs pointing toward each other.

Retract Boom
Retract Boom

Extend Boom (Telescoping Booms): Both fists in front of body with thumbs pointing outward.

Extend Boom
Extend Boom

What are some signals for crawler cranes only?

Lock Track: this side as indicated by raised fist.

Turn Travel Track: this side in direction shown by revolving fist.

Lock Track - Turn Travel Track
Lock Track
Turn Travel Track

Travel Both Tracks: forward or backward by revolving fists.

Travel Both Tracks
Travel Both Tracks

Document last updated on September 5, 2013

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