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Communicating With A Crane Operator

 
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:47 AM   #1
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Communicating With A Crane Operator


Next week I am getting a delivery of equipment on a highrise job that I'm doing and the GC is going to let me utilize the tower crane to get my crates up on the roof. I'm sure that they are going to coach me on how to talk to the operator with the 2-way radio on the day that I have to use it but I don't want to look like a total wuss while trying to learn the lingo.

Has anyone here has ever worked with a crane operator? I'd really like to know how I tell the operator to put my stuff being that I will be his only set of eyes on the other side of the building once he lowers the load beyond his vantage point.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:11 AM   #2
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


http://www.sscrane.com/crane-hand-si...ane-movements/



I have a set of walkie talkies that are in the truck for this and other things. They are worth their weight in gold!

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Old 09-20-2014, 11:41 AM   #3
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


Don't be afraid to tell the operator that you are inexperienced. Better for him to know what he is dealing with than to pretend you know what you doing and hurt someone. Most crane operators are used to working with signal men who don't know proper crane signals. If you don't understand if he should boom out and cable down or boom in and cable up, let him make the call and just talk to him in regular language. The operator will tell you what he wants, just ask him. My crane guy has cards with all the signals on the back that he hands out so you can learn.
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:13 PM   #4
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


Keep it to one movement at a time, and remember to stop each movement before the other one starts. Meaning, if you single cable down, he's going to keep doing it till you tell him to stop if he can't see the load.

Know the weight of what your picking, If he says something it too heavy to pick, don't bother arguing, you will loose.
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:13 PM   #5
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


The one and only time I had to use the crane I told the operator up front that I had no clue and he didn't have a problem with it. He told me to tell him one move at a time, speak in clear plain English, and don't rush. It was only one box though, so that may have had something to do with his patience.
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:46 PM   #6
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


The dogmen here seem to talk in their own code, its a bit hard to use handsignals when your on the other side of an 11 story building.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:36 PM   #7
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


I'm just going to echo what everyone has said here so far.

Get the guys name too. Better than calling him "Bud".

Also try and familiarize yourself with how the load moves on the end of the cable. For instance, "Boom down, hold the load" will move the load away from the crane while keeping it at a certain height. Once it's over it's intended spot, a simple "Stop" or "Hold that" followed by "Cable down, "X" feet" will get it where you want it to go in as few moves as possible.

Good luck. Be clear. Be certain. Keep your wits about you while you're doing it. Better to take an extra ten minutes on a move and be sure of what you're doing, than rush through it.
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Old 09-20-2014, 03:40 PM   #8
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


If you want to help-don't help. Let the riggers do their job.
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Old 09-20-2014, 04:17 PM   #9
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


All good advice above.

Ask the operator how he wants to be directed. A tower crane moves three ways, up/down, left/right, and closer/further from the tower.

Orient yourself to the job site and the crane, make sure move left is his left, not yours if you are facing the crane.

Never attempt to pull the load into place, always have the crane set it where you want it. It may not make much of a difference with a tower crane, but a truck crane can be pulled over, if it is close to the max load and some guy starts yanking the load to move it a few more feet.

Continue to communicate your directions, you might continually say "down" over and over so he is certain you want to keep lowering, then say, 10 feet, 6 feet, 2 feet, on the deck. give me some slack. Hold that while I unhook the rigging. More information is better than less.

Remember, he can't see you or the load.

I worked for a crane company for a few years, operated a few of the smaller ones they had, 25-35 ton truck cranes.

Remember to say "Ahh, shirt!" at least once followed by, "Ha, just kidding!"
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:06 PM   #10
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


tgeb has some good advive.I worked with tower cranes daily for years.operated a few large crawlers and a couple electric tower cranes.
If on a radio you have to repeat each command until you want to give different one.
Cable down,cable down,cable down easy,hold your load.
One thing that is important if the crane is fully extended or booming down a lot is.
Boom down,hold your load.This tells the operator to boom down and cable up at the same time so you can get a better perspective where the load will be landed and it makes it easier on the operator.
Same thing with boom up,hold your load.
Just a few tips.If the operator can see you use hand signals but be sure you know how first.Should be lots of instructions on the net.
Boom up
Boom down
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:54 PM   #11
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


Thanks everyone! This is all good stuff! My initial concern was that I only know the layout of the building based on the prints. But I don't know exactly how the operator understands the layout of the building.

Even though he was the operator that landed every bucket of concrete on every single deck, I am not so sure he would know what/where "section E4" is, especially if he can't see it.

So I get it now.. up/down, in/out, left/right. Somehow I thought that the communication was more complicated than that.

Another good thing is that the crates are coming pre-rigged by the flatbed driver so hopefully the tower crane can pull everything right off of the truck and drop it in the roof courtyard.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:14 PM   #12
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


Don't be afraid to borrow a guy from the gc. As the super i' ll lend a hand or one of my guys hands to prevent a mishap. And believe me, theres less movements with a tower crane. And at that level, the operator is going to know how to get it done. Wind speed, slack swing, current obstacles. He knows the building too.

Hand signals are useless typically with a tower. Radio game.

You got it.

Communicating With a Crane Operator-image-1428236134.jpg
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Old 09-21-2014, 07:09 AM   #13
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


Quote:
Originally Posted by elementbldrs View Post
Don't be afraid to borrow a guy from the gc. As the super i' ll lend a hand or one of my guys hands to prevent a mishap.
The GC always has someone on hand for this purpose. I think that overall they don't mind helping but they don't want to help on the behalf of an absentee contractor or essentially do my work for me while I am skipping off into the sunset. Even if they end up doing it for me, they expect me to be there to do the finger pointing.
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:25 AM   #14
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


Your tower op is going to know where his load is going. If its a decent size job, and a gc that is strict on safety, there will be some sort of lift plan. The gc should have someone experienced in the operation of that crane. I would think there is someone qualified as a spotter/rigger out there on that job.

If not, you better meet/talk with that operator. Towers are a little different than any hydraulic or lattice boom crane. No boom down or up. If you want the load away from the crane you want the op to trolley out, closer, you want the op to trolley in. Cable up or down will be your hoist. You will want to find out how they handle swing in your area. Some places its swing left/right, others its swing 1 or 2.

Communication is key. If he is a good op, in a tower he outta be one of the best in the area, your eyes will be his. He will have a mental image of what that load is doing based off of your descriptions. Remember, there will be a little lag time between your commands and his reactions. Some are more, others are less, depending on distance and skill. Accurate distances and descriptions are key. Give him a rough idea as the load is swinging in, distance away from where you need it, 10 feet left, 5 feet left, 3 2 1 hold that. Then down to the fine details from there. Same with load down, 20feet, 10, 5, 3 2 1 hold that. Again, down to the fine details from there. Give me slack will let him know you are unhooking. After that, if you want him to head for the load at the street, tell him to take it back to the street. That way he knows what you want, and he has a general idea on where to go without you directing him.

Coffee for the operator to start the day, his favorite after work drink at the end, makes for a happy operator, and will help if you have future loads, it will help get you bumped up on the list when the time comes
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:43 PM   #15
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


[QUOTE=JDavis21835;2096738

If not, you better meet/talk with that operator. Towers are a little different than any hydraulic or lattice boom crane. No boom down or up. If you want the load away from the crane you want the op to trolley out, closer, you want the op to trolley in. Cable up or down will be your hoist. You will want to find out how they handle swing in your area. Some places its swing left/right, others its swing 1 or 2.


Coffee for the operator to start the day, his favorite after work drink at the end, makes for a happy operator, and will help if you have future loads, it will help get you bumped up on the list when the time comes[/QUOTE]

I think you are speaking about a trolley crane ? they are not the same a s a tower crane.A trolley crane is electric and has a trolley sitting on top of a tower which usually moves up with the structure.In this case the operator is at a higher elevation than the deck and can see you most of the time.They have no boom.
A tower crane is a mobile unit ,either on tires or tracks like a Maitowoc or Lowrance and has a tower going straight up with a boom attached to it and usually a jib.They do boom up and down.
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:09 PM   #16
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


Quote:
Originally Posted by mako1 View Post
I think you are speaking about a trolley crane ? they are not the same a s a tower crane.A trolley crane is electric and has a trolley sitting on top of a tower which usually moves up with the structure.In this case the operator is at a higher elevation than the deck and can see you most of the time.They have no boom.
A tower crane is a mobile unit ,either on tires or tracks like a Maitowoc or Lowrance and has a tower going straight up with a boom attached to it and usually a jib.They do boom up and down.
http://www.miniature-construction-wo...00w-tower.html its a die cast one, but that is built after the real thing. That is a Manitowoc "tower" attachment. That is still considered a lattice boom/conventional crane.

http://visual.merriam-webster.com/tr...ower-crane.php

That would be a tower crane.
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Old 09-21-2014, 07:25 PM   #17
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Re: Communicating With A Crane Operator


If you will read my post again you will see I know the difference between a trolly and a boom.Mantiwocs are tower cranes .In your op you were referring to a trolley.

"If not, you better meet/talk with that operator. Towers are a little different than any hydraulic or lattice boom crane. No boom down or up. If you want the load away from the crane you want the op to trolley out, closer, you want the op to trolley in. Cable up or down will be your hoist. You will want to find out how they handle swing in your area. Some places its swing left/right, others its swing 1 or 2."

Looks like maybe we misunderstood each other but were on the same page.No need to get into a pissing contest over it.Maybe you typed "tower" when you should have typed "trolley".

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