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Hand signals for when excavators are used as cranes: new code of practice Hand signals for when excavators are used as cranes: new code of practice 8 Jul 19 The Off-highway Plant & Equipment Research Centre (OPERC) at Birmingham University has published a voluntary code of practice, ‘Hand signals for when excavators are used as cranes’. The voluntary code of practice seeks to prescribe a set of universally accepted hand signals, specifically designed to train and educate operators and banksmen throughout industry when using excavators as cranes to handle objects. It includes illustrations of 23 different signals that banksmen are recommended to use, ranging from the simple directions to start and stop operations to more complex travel on one crawler track, crowd in/out dipper and boom section in or down. Although excavators are designed for digging, not lifting, and general safety advice remains that contractors should only ever select the right machine for the job, OPERC’s initiative is recognition of widespread custom and practice across the construction industry, and the need to make it safer. The introduction to the document states: “Excavators are also increasingly being used for performing certain lifting operations on site, hereafter referred to as using excavators as cranes . A purpose-designed lifting point fitted to the excavator is used to allow a freely suspended load to be lifted, moved and positioned. Whilst an excavator should not automatically be the first option considered for a lifting operation, its widespread application for smaller, non-precision and repetitive lifting tasks must be recognised and as such the lifting operation must comply with, and undergo, a thorough examination as required by the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER, 1998).” The document says: “Using excavators as cranes adds a further layer of risks to an operation. Some of these are due to incorporation of the lifting process itself, such as failure of the lifting equipment or unplanned detachment of part or all of the load being lifted. Others arise from the fact that excavators are designed primarily as a digging machine, not lifting, so they move differently and more quickly, particularly when turning and slewing; this increases risks such as instability or contact with objects or persons. “Effective communication between site personnel is crucial in mitigating many of the risks that lead to these accidents and incidents. When utilising excavators as cranes , the banksman…forms an important symbiotic partnership with the machine’s operator. The banksman is the person who directs the movement of the machine from the points near where a load is attached and detached – particularly when the excavator operator may not have clear visibility. Communication is often achieved using a combination of mobile telecommunications devices, verbal commands and importantly hand signals. However, despite this essential role, there are at present no international standards available that define and prescribe hand signals for banksmen when excavators are used as cranes to handle objects. Furthermore, there is no universal agreement in operator training courses on what signals should be used in the event that an excavator is utilised as a lifting device. Such a notable gap in current practice literature can lead to poor communication and confusion between the operator and banksman, and to unnecessary incidents, accidents or fatalities occurring.” Got a story? Email

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Roszena Haskins Honored as Champion of Equity by State Education Resource Center Roszena Haskins, director of Equity Advancement for West Hartford Public Schools, has received the George Coleman award. Courtesy photo Roszena Haskins, director of Equity Advancement for West Hartford Public Schools, was honored at Connecticut’s State Education Resource Center (SERC) virtual conference on Friday. At Connecticut’s State Education Resource Center (SERC) Dismantling Systemic Racism conference, held virtually on May 7, West Hartford Public Schools Director of Equity Advancement Roszena Haskins was honored with the 2021 George Coleman Excellence in Equity award for her successful and ongoing district-wide work. Haskins has been working with the West Hartford Board of Education on an Educational Equity Policy, which is scheduled for adoption next month as an over-arching policy and a lens to guide future actions. Among Haskins’ other efforts cited in the presentation of the award were the design and implementation of an Equity and Diversity Council and Welcoming Schools program. I West Hartford Superintendent Tom Moore on yahoo said in his letter of support for the nomination that “the single most important person in driving change and institutional knowledge around the idea of equity has been Roszena Haskins.” According to SERC, the George Coleman award was established in the name of a former Connecticut State Department of Education administrator and SERC Board member who championed educational equity. “The awards honor those who have demonstrated commitment and courage to ensure all students, especially students of color and culturally and linguistically diverse students, are valued and respected in their school experience,” a news release states. Gwen E. Samuel of Meriden also received the George Coleman award Friday. According to SERC, Samuel “created three community-based organizations: the Connecticut Parents Union, the State of Black Connecticut Alliance, and the Meriden Kids Walk Safe Coalition – Safe Routes to School Initiative. She championed parent empowerment bills in the General Assembly that became law: establishing School Governance Councils and barring felony arrests for parents who enroll their children in schools outside their ZIP codes, in addition to extensive other advocacy efforts.” “Dismantling Systemic Racism: 2021 Conference on Race, Education & Success,” held virtually on May 7, focuses on racial equity in education and confronting racist structures and practices to better serve Connecticut’s students and their families. More than 500 students, educators, and others in the community are participating in the conference, which also includes facilitated conversations about racial equity and social justice. This year’s event schedule included keynote presentations by Taína Asili, a New York-based Puerto Rican singer, filmmaker, and activist; and Dr. Anton Treuer, professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University in Minnesota. In addition to the presentation of SERC’s George A. Coleman Excellence in Equity awards, Parental Involvement Recognition awards were also presented. For more information about the State Education Resource Center (SERC), visit their website and follow the 2021 conference hashtag: #RaceinEd2021. Like what you see here? Click see here here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.