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March 21, 2022
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Mobile Cranes – Hand Signals

Crane operators often need a second set of eyes when moving loads. A signal person is required when:

  • The path the load travels, or where the load is placed, is not in full view of the operator.
  • The equipment is traveling and the operator’s view in the direction of travel is obstructed.
  • The operator or person overseeing the load determine that it is necessary for worker safety.

The ability to transmit signals between the operator and signal person must be maintained during any signal requiring operations. If the ability to use signals is interrupted at any time, the crane’s operator must stop the operation until the signal transmission is reestablished and proper signals are provided and understood.

Only one person gives signals at a time, except that any person may give an emergency stop signal.

When using hand signals, the Standard Method must be used except where an operation or use of an attachment is not covered in the Standard Method, or the use of the Standard Method is otherwise infeasible. In these instances, non-standard hand signals may be used.

When using non-standard hand signals, the signal person, operator, and lift director, where there is one, must contact each other prior to the operation and agree on the non-standard hand signals that will be used.

Standard Method hand signal charts must either be posted on the equipment or in the vicinity of the hoisting operation.

Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the following Standard Method hand signals below.



Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Port Clinton, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;


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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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