Safety Focus of the Week: The Role of the Spotter (Revisited)
We frequently use a spotter to direct equipment or vehicles, particularly where the operator has reduced visibility. Similarly, the rigger/signalman for a piece of equipment doing a lift has a similar responsibility. Another example is a traffic flagger who has the legal authority to direct the traffic.
As a spotter, or an equipment operator, there are some basic rules to understand:
- The spotter/signalman and the operator should both understand the hand signals or verbal commands prior to the operation. The crane industry uses Hand Signals established by ASME: Crane Hand Signals. The actual signals or verbal commands can be different so long as both the spotter/signalman and the equipment operator understands the commands.
- Both the spotter/signalman and the equipment operator should understand the level of the duty assigned to the spotter. Different situations involve different levels of that duty.
- The spotter/signalman is effectively in control of the equipment. The operator’s duty is to move the equipment according to the spotter/signalman’s direction. The equipment operator should only deviate from that direction when he sees an impending dangerous situation.
- When backing a truck, the spotter provides the direction to the driver. The driver focuses on the spotter with frequent visual checks to verify that the other ends of the truck are clear of danger.