What Is A Slinger Signaller?

Matt Waddingham Managing Director Cadman Cranes headshot

Written by

Matt Waddingham, Managing Director

Cadman Cranes



In the world of heavy lifting, precision and safety should always be the number one priority.

Whether work is being carried out on a large building site, or smaller industrial jobs, any project which involves a crane or lifting machinery requires a well-co-ordinated team to ensure smooth operations and avoid any potential risks.

A crucial role in ensuring this is the slinger signaller.

In accordance with Regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998, it is imperative that each lifting operation, whether it involves raising, lowering, or suspending a load, undergoes thorough planning by a qualified individual.

At Cadman Cranes, it goes without saying that we deploy the highest level of experience for any project we work on, including our Contract Lift services. From our Appointed Persons and crane operators, through to our slinger signallers, our commitment to outstanding customer service is something which extends throughout our team.

What is a slinger signaller?

The term “slinger signaller” refers to a skilled individual responsible for attaching and detaching loads to and from the crane hook safely, whilst also being the eyes and ears on the ground.

One of their primary duties revolves around the proper securing and positioning of loads before lifting and during transportation. This entails assessing the weight and dimensions of the load, selecting appropriate lifting gear, and ensuring the load’s stability throughout the lifting process.

Slinger signallers play a pivotal role in maintaining the balance and stability of the load, preventing any swaying or shifting that could endanger both personnel and property. They work closely with the crane operator, communicating instructions clearly and effectively to execute lifts accurately. Additionally, slinger signallers need to be able to interpret lift plans and understand load charts to determine the most efficient and safe lifting methods.

Slinger signallers are also responsible for directing the crane operator during lifting and manoeuvring operations. This involves providing clear and precise hand signals to guide the crane operator’s movements, especially when the operator’s view is obstructed. The slinger signaller will use standardised hand signals which are recognised throughout the industry as per the BS 7121 and the Health and Safety (signs and signals) regulations 1996.

It is important to note that on occasions where visibility is poor (such as in bad weather or foggy conditions) hand signals may be difficult to see. In this instance, another form of communication should be employed, or the lift called off altogether for safety reasons.

But, isn’t a slinger signaller just a banksman?

A slinger signaller should not be confused with a banksman. Although a banksman’s role is similar in many respects to a signaller, the term “banksman” is considered somewhat outdated and is less commonly used in modern construction and lifting operations.

The term ‘banksman’ is further confused by the use of ‘banksman’ or ‘Traffic Marshal’ to describe the separate role of  directing the movement of vehicles and machinery on construction sites.

The shift in terminology reflects the evolving standards and training requirements within the industry. Modern regulations emphasise the need for specialised skills and certifications, which the role of a slinger signaller encapsulates. By distinguishing these roles, the industry aims to promote clearer communication and safer working practices in lifting and construction activities.

What else is involved in a slinger signaller’s role?

Slinger signallers can also assume a crucial role in coordinating communication between various personnel on the construction site, including crane operators, groundworkers, and site supervisors. They assess and manage potential hazards, such as overhead obstacles or uneven terrain, to mitigate risks and ensure the safe execution of lifts.

Additionally, slinger signallers are often tasked with maintaining accurate records of lifting activities and conducting pre-lift safety checks to verify equipment integrity.

When is a Slinger Signaller Required on Site?

The presence of a slinger signaller on-site is mandated whenever lifting operations are underway, particularly in scenarios involving complex lifts or confined workspaces. Their expertise is indispensable in situations where the crane operator’s visibility is limited, or when multiple crane movements are required simultaneously. Whether it’s a construction site, industrial facility, or maritime operation, the involvement of qualified slinger signaller is essential to uphold safety standards and prevent accidents.

Cadman Crane’s Contract Lift services adhere to these industry regulations and prioritise the deployment of competent personnel to oversee all lifting operations. Whether it’s a routine lift or a specialised project, the presence of a skilled slinger signaller ensures seamless coordination and enhanced safety measures.

Do They Need Any Specific Qualifications?

Slinger signallers require specialised training and certifications to perform their roles effectively. Slinger signallers must undergo comprehensive training programs that cover topics such as load calculations, rigging techniques, and equipment inspection.

They should also understand crane operation protocols, hand signalling techniques, and site safety procedures. They are trained to assess potential hazards and communicate instructions clearly to crane operators and other personnel involved in lifting operations.

What Experience Do They Need with Cranes?

Experience with crane operations is imperative for slinger signallers. While formal training provides the foundational knowledge, practical experience enhances their ability to navigate real-world challenges effectively. Experienced slinger signallers develop an intuitive understanding of load dynamics and crane capabilities, enabling them to anticipate and address potential risks proactively. They also possess a keen awareness of site dynamics and crane behaviour, allowing them to make split-second decisions in high-pressure situations. Practical experience equips them with the confidence and expertise to coordinate complex lifting operations seamlessly.

Get in touch with our team today to discuss your requirements: 01206 986610 / [email protected]