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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Miner's Tip

Hand Signals for Lifting Equipment

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Mines
Category: General Safety; Haulage and Transportation; and Maintenance

Hand Signals

A miner from Nevada recommends that all types of cranes and lifting equipment should be operated with one set of standard hand signals. This miner worked in several industries and became very concerned because of the many different hand signals being used from one industry to the other and from one type of hoisting machine to another (i.e. overhead cranes vs. mobile cranes).

The most widely accepted standard hand signals are found in the ANSI/ASME B30 standards. Remember, since crane and hoisting equipment design and operation vary, standards are customized for each particular type of equipment and job application. You should use the specific standards which apply to your machine and the lifting task at hand. Please use the link below to access a chart of basic standard hand signals for controlling crane/hoisting operations. Illustrations of the standard hand signals should be posted at the job site and on every piece of lifting/hoisting equipment. The topic of "hand signals for lifting equipment" should be included in task, hazard and new miner training classes.

   Basic Standard Hand Signals (PDF file).

Issued: 04/08/2003
Tag # AP2003-M061

MSHA extends a thank you and a tip of the hardhat to Mr. Don Summers, a winner of a limited edition sticker and patch. If you have a tip you would like to pass on, you can e-mail it to If your Miner's tip is selected, you will receive credit in this space.