CM Hand Signal PosterWhen working as a crane operator in a facility or at a jobsite, especially those with lots of traffic, it is crucial to understand and use crane hand signals. As required by OSHA 1926.1400 Cranes and Derricks, these individuals, or signal persons, must know all signals for mobile, tower and overhead cranes and must have a basic understanding of crane operation.

Charts identifying these hand signals must be posted on equipment or noticeably near hoisting operations. If modifications are made to any signals, they must be agreed upon by the crane operator, lift director and signal person and cannot conflict with the standard signals.

Identifying the Signal Person
The lift director at the jobsite has to appoint a qualified signal person before the lift. During crane operation, only one person can give signals, unless it’s for an emergency stop – then anyone on the jobsite can give the signal. Once the qualified signal person is identified, the signal person and the crane operator must identify each other prior to giving any signals.

Signaling the Crane Operator During the Lift
During crane operation, signals should be continuous. If at any time a signal is not understood, is not clear, is disrupted or is not audible, the crane operator must stop movement and not give a response.

When giving signals, all signs should be from the operator’s perspective. So, for example, to designate swing left, the signal person would extend their right arm so the operator would swing left.

In addition to hand signals, voice signals can be used. Voice signals must have three elements:

  • Direction or function
  • Speed or distance
  • Stop command of prior function

For example, a voice command may go something like: “Hoist 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet Stop! Swing right 90 degrees, slowly, slowly, Stop! Lower 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet Stop!

It’s important to note that when communicating with more than one crane, a procedure or system has to be used to identify which crane that the signal is for. This helps avoid confusion on the part of the crane operator, allowing them to easily identify which crane should respond.

Moving the Crane
When the operator moves the crane into position, the following horn or audible sounds shall be used:

  • Stop: One short audible signal
  • Go Ahead: Two short audible signals
  • Back Up: Three short audible signals

These sounds are required to ensure that those not directly involved in controlling or working with the crane are aware of the crane’s movement in the job site.

To see a full list of all hand signals, including explanations and diagrams, click here.

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CMCO distributor, REID Lifting, sponsored the Bloodhound project with the donation of a bespoke gantry lifting system. Photo: Stefan Marjoram

The Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) is set to become one of the world’s greatest engineering feats, capable of travelling at speeds over 1,000 mph. Started 8 years ago, the Bloodhound project is attempting to smash the current land speed record of 763 mph by Thrust SSC, the first land vehicle to break the sound barrier. When complete, the car will be powered by both a jet engine and a rocket to help it achieve super high speeds.

During construction of the supersonic car, it came as no surprise that Bloodhound chose to use a REID Lifting PORTA-GANTRY frame from CMCO Channel Partner, Reid Lifting. This tall and innovative gantry lifting system, with an integrated CMCO chain block, has helped Bloodhound carefully construct each element of the car.


Bloodhound, a supersonic car designed to go over 1,000 mph (1,600 km/h)

REID engineers also are working closely with Bloodhound to create a 3,000 kg WLL custom lifting solution that will be used for the supersonic car’s first record attempt in South Africa in 2017.  A custom solution is required due to the uneven surface and unique conditions of the Hakskeen Pan, the desert plain where the momentous record attempt will take place.

Education ambassador program

The science behind Bloodhound is now being used in activities in 7,500 schools in the UK.

Taking Science to the Classroom
The science behind Bloodhound is now being used in activities at more than 7,500 schools in the UK.

However, the real driver behind the project is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math). With this in mind, REID Lifting has chosen to not only sponsor the project with the donation of a bespoke gantry lifting system, but is also involved in the Bloodhound SSC STEM Ambassador Program.

REID Lifting has sent Design Engineer, Luke Rossiter, and Machinist Apprentice, Tim Battersby, to local schools throughout South Wales and south west England as official Bloodhound Ambassadors. Both having a strong interest in engineering, they will be sharing their passion for the project to encourage future generations to follow in their footsteps.

Thank you REID Lifting and our CMCO UK office for sharing this great story and being a part of such a stellar project.


This article is Part 7 of a 7-part blog series that will cover what operators should consider when performing a pre-operational hoist safety inspection. Today, we’ll discuss chain inspection.


The final step in our pre-operational hoist safety inspection should be to check the hoist’s chain.

Clean the chain, if required, before inspection.
If the chain is dirty, it may be difficult to inspect. Therefore, it is important to make sure the chain is clean so you can see any damage. Inspect as much chain as you can. On hoists hung from overhead trolleys and beams, you will not be able to inspect the entire length of chain. Checking the entire length of chain will be part of a Periodic Inspection.

When conducting the inspection, you should look for:

  • Inner link wear, gouges, nicks and twists: Inner link wear is difficult to see without moving links and is covered in detail during the Periodic Inspection. However, if something looks wrong, have someone check the chain in more detail.
  • Bent or broken links
  • Chemical damage or corrosion
  • Stretch: Hoist chain does not stretch like lifting chain. As I explained in a recent blog post on rigging chain, it can be difficult to determine if chain is stretched without measuring it. Full measurements are completed during the Periodic Inspection. However, if something looks wrong or out of proportion, take the time to measure the links. Chain sizes vary from hoist to hoist, so you will need to refer to the product’s O&M manual to verify chain measurements.

Finally, check for proper lubrication. Lubrication is important to extend the life of the chain and the hoist. It helps wear and helps the chain articulate properly. After you clean it for the inspection, make sure it is properly lubricated.

Here are some extreme examples of chain damage. Oftentimes wear will not be this apparent.

Important note to the stretched links image:
Hoist chain is not designed to stretch, whereas rigging chain is designed to stretch.

Hoist Training
If you see anything of concern, take the hoist out of service and bring it to the attention of a trained hoist inspector for further evaluation.

Additional Resources:
Learn more about hoist inspection and maintenance


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