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Cranes and Rigging in Construction: What is the Role of a Signal Person?

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | October 9, 2013 | Comments Off on Cranes and Rigging in Construction: What is the Role of a Signal Person?

Cranes and rigging operators may have received all the OSHA-required crane and rigging safety training they need, but who watches over them when they’re on the job? Who keeps them from harm’s way and tells them to move forward or retract?

It’s the signal person.

What is a Signal Person?

Signal persons are a crucial part of any construction operation. Operators rely on them for hand signals or gestures that indicate whether they should continue on or put the machine to a halt— especially when the point of operation (the load placement area and surrounding areas) is not in full sight. There are a few specific times a signal person will be required.

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When is a Signal Person Required?

Of course, a signal person is not always needed for crane and rigging operations, but there are some situations where a signal person is essential. The main time a signal person is required is when the point of operation is not in the full-view of the operator, or the operator’s view is obstructed in the direction the equipment is traveling. Other instances where a signal person is required are when the operator or the person handling the load determines a signal person would be beneficial to the operation.

What Qualifications Does a Signal Person Have?

OSHA and the United States government require a signal person to be qualified from November 8, 2010 onwards. A signal person is qualified if he or she:

  • Is well-versed in the different types of signals used in the work site
  • Has a firm grasp of the construction operations as a whole, and crane and equipment dynamics (e.g. swinging, raising motions, load placement, and boom deflection)
  • Is fully aware of the training and employment requirements for a signal person as detailed in subpart CC (1926.1419-1926.1422; 1926.1428)
  • Has completed a signal person training and passed the practical exam

How to Test a Signal Person’s Qualifications

As you can see, a signal person has an invaluable job, and their qualifications should not be taken lightly. There are two ways a signal person’s qualifications can be tested.

Through a Third Party Evaluator

The signal person should be able to present proof of training completion from a third party training provider or certifying body and that he or she is competent for the job.

Through an In-House Evaluator

The employer may determine a signal person’s qualifications by personally evaluating the signal person’s skills and by examining their credential records.

Once the signal person’s qualifications have been verified, the host employer will have to keep records of the signal person’s training certifications and other related documentation—in physical or electronic form—at the workplace. This documentation should indicate the signaling type that the signal person is qualified to perform and should be readily accessible at work premises.

For more information on signal persons and OSHA 10 construction training, check out our blog section or OSHA’s official website OSHA.gov.

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