Important Skilled Rigger Qualities 2/5: Verbal & Hand Signal Communication

Rigger Communication

Rigging is an essential part of the shipping industry. Large materials need to be hoisted into position using very specific equipment. Due to the very nature of the job, communication is essential to prevent injuries, damage, and to ensure that everything is handled as smoothly as possible. But, also due to the nature of the job, verbal communication alone isn’t always practical. Here are the reasons why skilled riggers need to be great communicators and knowledgeable about hand signals.  

Prevent Safety Hazards 

Rigging and the heavy lifting of materials, often with the use of a crane, go hand in hand. For that reason, riggers and the people around them must be aware of the dangers and how to avoid them. Without concise and effective verbal communication along with easy to understand hand signals for those not within earshot, safety could be in jeopardy.  

Eliminate Damaging Mistakes 

Similarly, beyond the safety of everyone around, the materials themselves are often large, heavy, and quite an expense. Not to mention the massive investment of the boat itself. Only effective communication can prevent mistakes that could be damaging and, ultimately, very costly to your company or you personally.  

OSHA Hand Signal Guidelines 

OSHA has established several guidelines for individuals in industries that require their use. For example, if the operator cannot see the load at the origin or the direction of travel, they will require hand signals to let them know if they’re on track. At various points, it’s also at the discretion of the rigger. If you feel that safety can be improved by using hand signals, use them.  

Radio Communication  

Verbal communication can be just as important, and most often handled through a radio. The radio should always be tested prior to the project itself. A rigger should have access to a hands-free device, and discussions on the radio should always be related to the project at hand and not used for other conversations.  

Do you want to pursue a career as a rigger? Learn more at Hutco