Qualified and Unqualified Signalpersons

Over half the people in the crane industry are not actually qualified signalpersons. Is it because of lack of knowledge about the requirement? Is it because employers don’t know what a qualified signal person should know? Is it because employers are not sure how to qualify a signal person? These are the questions Bo from Crane Tech asked himself when he noticed over half the employees were not qualified signalpersons.

According to OSHA 1926.1419 a qualified signalperson is required in the following situations:

  • The crane operator does not have a full view of the point of operation
  • The operator’s view is obstructed in the direction that the equipment is moving
  • The operator or the person handling the load feels that a signalperson is needed
  • Anytime there are site-specific safety concerns

All of this information can be found right on OSHA’s website. If you ever have any concerns about a jobsite task refer to their website. www.OSHA.gov.

Next question: “Is it because employers don’t know what a qualified signal person should know?” According to OSHA 1926.1428, a signal person must:

  • Know and understand the type of signals used (the preferred method is outlined Appendix A of the standard).
  • Display a competent use of these signals
  • Understand crane dynamics including those involving swinging, raising lowering, stopping loads and boom deflection
  • Know and understand relevant requirements of OSHA 1926 Subpart CC.
  • Must pass on oral or written test as well as a practical test

Question number three: “Is it because employers are not sure how to qualify a signal person?” This question is even easier to answer. According to OSHA, employers have the responsibility to make sure that employees meet the qualification requirements. There are two ways that an employer can ensure a signal person is qualified:

  • Third Party Qualified Evaluator -  use a company such as Crane Tech to provide training and testing of your employees.
  • Employer’s Qualified Evaluator – attend Crane Tech’s Train-the-Trainer program and use those materials to train and test your employees directly.

At the job site the employer is required to make documentation of the qualification available in either paper or electronic form. The documentation must list each specific type of signaling for which the worker is qualified such as hand or radio signals.

If you would like to learn more about proper hand signals refer to this video at our YouTube Channel.  

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