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Toolbox Talk: Duties of Assigned Personnel – Lift Director

By July 19, 2021 No Comments
Garco Construction, toolbox talk, building, gc cm, washington, idaho, oregon

Many companies are not aware of a specific OSHA requirement for Lift Directors. It is only a couple of sentences and could easily be overlooked. The OSHA Rule, 1926.1432(b), became effective November 2010 and it states:

“The multiple-crane/derrick lift must be directed by a person who meets the criteria for both a competent person and a qualified person, or by a competent person who is assisted by one or more qualified persons (lift director). The lift director must review the plan in a meeting with all workers who will be involved with the operation.”

Previous to the inclusion of the Lift Director requirement in the standards, Lift Directors often were considered as “lead persons” for the rigging crew and were usually not compensated for assuming these responsibilities. Furthermore, they often assumed the responsibility but were not given the authority to take corrective actions.

In 2011, The ASME Standard B30.5-2011 for Mobile and Locomotive Cranes directs us as stated below (which was adopted in the WAC 296-155-5340 Duties of Assigned Personnel):

5-3.1.3 states: “All responsibilities listed below shall be assigned in the work site organization.” (WAC 296-155-53401 states: A single individual may perform one or more of these assignments concurrently.):

  • Crane owner: Has custodial control of a crane by virtue of lease or ownership.
  • Crane user: Arranges the crane’s presence on a worksite and controls its use there.
  • Site supervisor: Exercises supervisory control over the worksite on which a crane is being used and over the work that is being performed on that site.
  • Lift director: Directly oversees the work being performed by a crane and the associated rigging crew.
  • Crane operator: Directly controls the crane’s functions.

This gained more traction when ASME has developed a new standard, ASME P30.1-2014 – Planning for Load Handling Activities (Lift Planning). This new standard also includes the requirement for a Lift Director and led to the current WAC 296-155-5340 Duties of Assigned Personnel). Which list the following duties and responsibilities for a Lift Director:

(6) The lift director’s duties would include the following:

(a) Being present at the job site and overseeing the lifting operations;

(b) Stopping crane operations if alerted to an unsafe condition affecting those operations;

(c) Ensuring that the preparation of the area needed to support crane operations has been completed before crane operations commence;

(d) Ensuring necessary traffic controls are in place to restrict unauthorized access to the crane’s work area;

(e) Ensuring that personnel involved in crane operations understand their assigned duties, and the associated hazards;

(f) Addressing safety concerns raised by the operator or other personnel and deciding if it is necessary to overrule those concerns and directs crane operations to continue. In all cases, the manufacturer’s criteria for safe operation and the requirements of this chapter and any other applicable safety and health standards must be adhered to;

(g) Assigning qualified signal person(s) and conveying that information to the crane operator;

(h) Ensuring that signal persons assigned meet the qualification requirements located in WAC 296-155-53302;

(i) Allowing crane operation near electric power lines only when the requirements of WAC 296-155-53408 and any additional requirements determined by the site supervisor have been met;

(j) Ensuring precautions are implemented when hazards associated with special lifting operations are present. Such operations include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) Multiple crane lifts;
(ii) Multiple load line lifts;
(iii) Lifting personnel;
(iv) Pick and carry operations;
(v) Mobile/articulating cranes operating on barges.

(k) Ensuring that the applicable requirements of WAC 296-155-547 through 296-155-55405 are met when lifting personnel;

(l) Informing the crane operator of the weight of loads to be lifted, as well as the lifting, moving, and placing locations for these loads;

(m) Obtaining the crane operator’s verification that this weight does not exceed the crane’s rated capacity;

(n) Ensuring that a crane’s load rigging is performed by a qualified rigger as defined in WAC 296-155-53306;

(o) Ensuring that the load is properly rigged and balanced before it is lifted more than a few inches.


In general, ASME and WAC codes directs us accordingly:

  • Lift Director definition – The person designated to direct the load handling activity
  • Personnel roles and responsibilities – The Lift Director is responsible for verifying the category of the load handling activity, reviewing and implementation the lift plan
  • The Lift Director should:
    • Hold pre-lift meetings
      • Assure the meeting attendees understand the plan and what each person is supposed to do
        Decide the frequency of pre-lift meetings for repetitive lifts
      • Confirm all set-up preparations are according to the lift plans
      • Ensure load handling activity complies with the plan
      • Conduct a post-lift review as necessary

The Lift Director may be overseeing super heavy, complicated lifts -or- simple ones -or- two crane lifts with smaller cranes working at a low percentage of capacity -or- somewhere in between. You may have a very busy site with multiple Lift Directors working within the limits of their individual experience levels.

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