The Slinger/Signaller is the eyes and ears of the crane operator who could be over 50 metres above the ground in a tower crane or blinded by a blocked view in a mobile crane. Therefore, hand signals are required to communicate with the crane operator to ensure instructions are clear which in turn reduces the risks when slinging a load.
Standard Hand Signals For Crane Operation
Hand Signals are agreed upon by the crane operator and the Slinger/Signaller before the lifting operation is carried out. However, the BS7121 Code of Practice for Safe Use of Cranes has pre-determined hand signals to ensure that any slinger/signaller can work alongside any crane operator. During your time on the Slinger/Signaller training course at SB Skills Solutions, you will be taught the following hand signals, but it’s always good to prepare for your course to make sure you have the best chance of passing.
Check out the official Slinger / Signaller hand signals below:
The lifting operations will always begin with the Slinger Signaller, indicating that operations have started. The operator will raise their right hand, palm facing forward with the other hand perpendicular to the torso, palm down. This should inform the crane operator that the lifting operation has begun and to follow instructions that come after.
If the Slinger Signaller needs to indicate that the crane operator should stop, they are able to use the standard stop signal. This is done by simply raising one hand just above head height with the palm open and the other hand at the side of the body. This will tell the crane operator to stop the previous instruction, however, it is not an emergency event.
The emergency stop indicates to the crane operator to stop all lifting operations immediately. This signal should be used when a danger/risk is spotted during the operation. The emergency stop is shown by raising both hands above the head with the palms opened and facing forwards. Once the signal has been delivered, the crane operator should stop all operations to ensure the safety of the team and themselves.
Inching the Load
Inching the load refers to slowly lifting the load. This could be performed for various reasons such as performing intricate movements which require precisions. Primarily, this is used when the load is on the ground with no tension on the chains; When the load is ready to be lifted from the ground, the slinger signaller will signal to inch the load which will slowly begin to suspend the load, once the load is suspended slightly above the ground the slinger signaller will indicate to hoist the load. To inch the load, the crane signaller will clench and unclench their fist.
To hoist the load, the Slinger Signaller should raise their fist above their head with their index finger pointed upwards, spinning in a small circle. This will show the crane operator that the load should be lifted up. This differs from inching the load as the crane operator will simply lift the load until the signaller stops the action, which may cause the load to be lifted slightly too high.
To lower the load, the slinger signaller must extend their arm to the side of their body with their index finger pointing while creating small circles like the “hoist” command. This is used to indicate to the crane operator that the load needs to be lowered until the command stops. This the opposite to the hoist signal.
The lower slowly signal should be used when precise movements are required by the operator to ensure the safety of the load. This isn’t used as commonly as “inching the load”, however, the lower slowly instruction should be used when damage to the load could be caused by a sudden drop. This is shown in the same way as the “Lower” signal, but, both hands are used rather than one hand.
Travel in Direction Indicated
To instruct the crane to move in a direction, the slinger signaller simply needs to point to the left or right. Extending the arm out at shoulder height with a pointed finger will indicate to the crane operator that the vehicle needs to travel in the specified direction. When conducting this activity, the crane arm should be lowered and the riggers should not be deployed when the crane is mobile.
Slew in Direction Indicated
To indicate this signal, the slinger signaller should raise their forearm from the side of their body and holding the handout at elbow height with the palm facing downwards in a left or right motion. This will indicate to the crane operator to slew the crane arm. This means that the load will travel in a circular movement around the circumference of the jib angle and extension.
Jib Up and Jib Down
This signal is used to instruct the crane operator to move the “head of the crane” or the jib to a lower or a higher position. This will cause the suspended load to move forwards or backwards whilst also lowering or raising the load. This should be used with the “inch the load” signal to ensure that the load doesn’t hit the ground. Every signal that involves the jib must start by tapping the head/hardhat. To jib up, the signaller will extend the arm with their thumb out and up. Then the crane signaller should raise the arm, bringing their thumb up and towards them. To jib down, the slinger signaller should point the thumb down and move it in a downwards motion.
Extend Jib and Retract Jib
This signal is not commonly used with mobile cranes as the jib is usually set before lifting operations commence. However, with tower cranes and other cranes where the jib will be extended or retracted. As this signal involves using the jib, the head must first be tapped/touched. Then to signal to extend the jib, sometimes referred to as the “trolley to me” signal, the signaller will then beckon their hand towards themselves. Retracting the jib, sometimes referred to as “trolley from me”, is performed by carrying out the extension signal but in reverse.
Travel to me and Travel from me
If the crane needs to travel toward or away from the slinger signaller, the travel to or from me signal can be used. To perform this signal, the crane signaller should use both arms extended bringing them in an upward motion to beckon the crane towards them and pushing the hands away and downwards to indicate to the crane operator to travel away.
Finally, upon completion of the lifting operations, the slinger signaller should cease operations. This instruction means that the lifting operation is finished or that the slinger signaller should no longer be followed by the crane operator. This action is performed by extending the arms outwards and bringing them both to the centre of the torso and back out again. This should always be shown so the crane operator knows that the activity is completed.
Bonus Signal: Jib Down whilst inching
As this signal isn’t featured on the British Standard of crane signals, we didn’t think it should make the list, however, if you’re planning to work in construction, you may see this signal. This signal should be used when the slinger signaller is instructing the crane operator to put the jib down as the load will lower. The perform this action, use the jib down action in the same way, while the hand with the thumb pointing downwards clenches and unclenches. This will simultaneously raise the load while moving the jib downwards.
To find out more about working as a slinger signaller, or to arrange training for yourself or a member of your staff – simply get in touch with the team at SB Skills Solutions Ltd. With years of experience providing tailored training to suit a whole host of different requirements, our fully qualified trainers and testers will ensure to provide you with unchallenged levels of expertise, skills, knowledge and professionalism you need to effectively and safely direct lifting operations in the workplace.