03 Horizontaal en verticaal transport
 >  Lifting - Communication with the crane operator
Discussion > Talk with your colleagues about it!
  • Before I start work, I check which channel I must use to communicate with the crane operator
  • I know I have to speak clearly through the walkie talkie
  • I make sure my colleagues have a fully charged walkie talkie at their disposal the next day

Tower cranes and mobile cranes are indispensable at a project. If there is no crane there is no construction. The manner in which the crane operator and the rigger cooperate is important. Lifting work can only be carried out properly if everyone is alert. This goes for both the crane operator as the rigger. In this toolbox we discuss how to communicate with the crane operator via the walkie talkie. It seems simple but using the walkie talkie properly requires more attention than you would think. A walkie talkie can be used by itself or together with a speaker microphone.

Risks > What can happen?

Using a walkie talkie

The walkie talkie is not always used properly. This can lead to misunderstandings, which can result in accidents.

Irritation and misunderstanding

  • The walkie talkie is not turned on
  • The volume is muted
  • The walkie talkie is not tuned in to the right channel
  • Keeping the walkie talkie too close to your mouth while talking
  • Speaking unclearly
  • Shouting through the walkie talkie (it will distort the sound and the operator will not hear you properly)
  • Speaking when you have not yet pressed the button. For instance, if you say STOP LOWERING and press the button slightly too late, the operator will only hear LOWERING
  • Disturbing ambient sound (being in a noisy environment)
  • Rushing (you are too occupied with other things)

Be aware that if you suddenly shout STOP when a load is being lowered, the crane will not instantly stop lowering the load. 

Crane motors need time to slow down. Before the motors come to a standstill, the load might have descended another 6 metres because of the speed at which it is being lowered and its weight. Indicate the height in the number of metres that the load consists of: “SIX METRES, FIVE METRES, FOUR METRES, THREE METRES, TWO METRES, ONE METRE, HALF A METRE, 10 CENTIMETRES, STOP”.

The operator cannot see depth and therefore not estimate the distance between the load and the floor!

Watch the (Dutch) clips below.

Tips > For more information

The clips can be watched in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, but not in Explorer 11

Measures > What must you do?
  • Turn the volume all the way up
  • Regularly check if the volume button is on (For instance, if you resume work after a break)
  • Turn the walkie talkie to the right channel (in case there are multiple cranes on site, we aim to tune crane 1 to channel 1 and crane 2 to channel 2)
  • First test the walkie talkie by paging the crane operator
  • Properly press the walkie talkie speak button
  • Give the operator time to respond
  • Speak in a calm manner, do not shout
  • Do not speak if people are already talking via the walkie talkie
  • Stay calm at all times, let no one rush you
  • Do not speak in a rushed manner
  • Warn people in the surrounding area in advance (so they do will not stand under the load)
  • Check for ambient sound. If it is too loud, then, if possible, move away from the source of the sound;
  • Always leave the walkie talkie on. This way, the operator can also communicate with you
  • When lifting, stay focused on the actual lifting movement. Do not let yourself get distracted;
  • Do not switch off the walkie talkie. Not until you hand it in
  • Straight after work, put the walkie talkie in the charger (maybe even during breaks)
  • Keep the walkie talkie clean. If it gets dirty, there might be a chance that some functions will not work properly

Watch the (Dutch) clips below

Tips > For more information

The clips can be watched in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, but not in Explorer 11

1=volume button 2= button for channels