Who makes up a crane operating team?

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Like any aspect of the construction industry, crane operations are all about the team working together rather than just a collection of skilled individuals. It’s not just about the driver jumping up into the cab and lifting equipment this way and that, because without an experienced team of competent and qualified staff, he’s unable to work safely. One man working on his own might as well be blind for what little he can see or do.

Anybody working as part of a team operating a crane on a construction site needs to be qualified through an approved CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme) course, and hold the appropriate card relevant to the equipment they are operating. Those CPCS cards exist for a reason – to ensure the necessary level of competence and to avoid the scourge of building industry accidents.

crane team

All staff should be CPCS appointed persons for crane operations, which means they have a working knowledge of the current relevant regulations for their expected duties, and an ability to demonstrate that they know management of the lifting operation.

Typical team members who aren’t typically in the cab include the Banksman. They’re the person who act as the eyes and ears of the operator on the ground. It’s a historic name for a role that dates back to the 19th century, and has a clear view of the loading area. He is in charge of all crane movement for loading and unloading, and may also be charged with loading and unloading of attending lorries and other plant.

Related to the Banksman job is the slinger signaller. They’re specifically in charge with communicating with the operator and ensuring that the crane sling is loaded safely. This job splits the duties of the Banksman, who may then be left solely in charge with crane and other vehicle movements.

The crane supervisor is specifically qualified to ensure that cranes are placed and constructed safely. It’s a highly demanding role with a great deal of responsibility for all those involved in the operation. The crane supervisor may also be cross-trained as a lift supervisor, and be in overall charge of the crane itself.

Then, of course, there’s the crane operator. They will be suitably qualified and hold a CPCS card for either mobile crane or tower crane work, depending on what plant is being used.

Depending on the complexity of the work, there may be more that one of each role, but the general concept is the same – a small team of qualified staff ensuring that lifts are efficient, and – above all – safe.

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