CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller Course

1. Introduction

The CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller course is designed for individuals who are working in the lifting industry and have to direct the movement of loads, vehicles or machinery with the use of lifting equipment. Slinger signallers work closely with the lifting team (crane operators, crane supervisors, appointed persons and maintenance workers) to provide the banksman with accurate and safe directions in order to guide the load to its final destination. They are also responsible for attaching and detaching the load to and from the crane. This may seem like a simple enough job, however, when looking at statistics from the HSE, it is apparent to see that this is not the case. Many accidents occur in the construction industry as a result of loads coming into contact with overhead power lines or simply slipping from the lifting accessories. The Slinger Signaller is often the forgotten man in the lifting team, and this course has been designed to give them the official recognition that their competence in this role deserves. This course is divided into two categories: Foundation and Experienced Worker.

1.1. Overview of the CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller Course

Overview of the CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller Course includes the aims of the Slinger/Signaller, knowledge of legislation, and the duties of the Slinger/Signaller. Nearly every construction project requires lifting or moving loads and the slinger/signaller is the appointed person who would be responsible for the safe guidance of the crane operator while moving loads. This course is designed to provide novice and intermediate operators with sufficient slinging and signalling skills and knowledge, which will enable the candidate to be assessed and achieve either the CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller Red (Novice) Card, or the CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller Blue (Skilled) Card. Through a combination of targeted training and experience, an individual with the Slinger/Signaller Red card will be able to move on to the Slinger/Signaller Blue Card. A Slinger/Signaller with a red card will typically be working under the supervision of the Lift Supervisor, who will provide the Slinger/Signaller with the lifting plan. A Slinger/Signaller with a blue card will be able to plan the lifting activities and will typically work closely with the Appointed Person. The A40 theory test is made up of two separate modules which can be taken on the same day as the practical test. The two modules are: Core skills and knowledge (Set under category code 001) and the second test is Working as a Slinger/Signaller on a construction site (Set under category code A40). Before taking the theory test, it is recommended that the candidate takes the CSCS health safety and environment test which is a prerequisite to gaining the CPCS card. Two modules that make up the Slinger/Signaller theory test will provide the candidate with the technical and legislative knowledge required to carry a variety of slinging and signalling tasks in different lifting scenarios.

1.2. Importance of Slinger Signallers in Construction

A slinger’s role is to provide clear, unambiguous information to the plant operator using hand signals or radio instructions to guide the machine to a location where the load can be lifted safely and effectively. The slinger will also be involved in attaching and detaching the load from the lifting machine and, in some circumstances, directing the movement of the load. The term “slinger” encompasses a specific license to undertake slinging. This may involve only the movement of loads using lifting equipment or it may also involve supervising lifting operations with no physical work undertaken. Thus, a slinger license may range from purely a supervisory role to physically attaching and detaching loads. The tasks involved may differ, but the need for safe lifting and load movement remains. Incident figures suggest that failed or unsupervised lifting operations are a major cause of death or injury in construction. By specifying slinging and signaling as a competency unit, this is a license that is directly focused on the safety of lifting operations. It also has a clear link to attached units using plant machinery to move loads. Understanding and use of hand signals is central to this competency. Signal charts may vary throughout the industry, so knowledge of the specific chart being used will be necessary for effective communication. Ineffective signaling has in the past caused numerous accidents during lifting operations, both to persons and to loads or machinery. Directing the plant operator to incorrect movement of loads or machinery can cause damage to persons, property, or the machinery itself. Use of wrong signals can cause confusion between the signaler and operator, leading to sudden or unexpected movement of the load, creating a pinch point hazard for persons in the vicinity. A well-trained signaler will have an understanding of the lift operation being undertaken and the loads being moved. They will be proactive in preventing the operator from taking actions that are unsafe or not in the interest of the project.

2. Course Requirements

Any candidate who has been working as a Slinger/Signaller but does not have a CPCS card is eligible to undertake CPCS A40 Slinger/Signaller Training and testing. Such candidates do have the ability to take either the CPCS Red or Blue Trained Operator Card.

Candidates who have a CPCS Trained Operator card in another occupation must achieve a CPCS Operators card in Slinger/Signaller prior to taking their CPCS A40 Slinger/Signaller Technical Test.

ELIGIBILITY FOR CPCS A40 SLINGER/SIGNALLER To be eligible, candidates must have achieved a Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) Operatives Card (Red Trained Operator Card) or (Blue Competent Operator Card) in Slinger/Signaller category (A40) or an in-scope NVQ in the type of plant being utilized.

Having registered for a CPCS technical test after 1st September 2019, the candidate will not be eligible to take their technical test until they have achieved the relevant CITB Health, safety and environment test and achieved the ABC qualification, providing evidence if required to do so. Failure to complete the relevant requirement will result in the candidate’s CPCS technical test application becoming null and void. A full refund will be given in this circumstance.

Health and Safety Touch Screen Test Certificate. CITB-ConstructionSkills ‘Achieving Behavioural Change’ (ABC) This is now a mandatory requirement. All candidates who are required to do their CPCS technical test after 2nd September 2019 will need to have achieved this qualification and provide evidence of the same.

A40 Slinger Signaller practical training is for anyone who needs to learn how to guide, direct and signal a plant operator in the safe movement of loads, using hand signals or the machine’s/plant’s own signalling system. This training is to give novice and intermediate operators the skills and knowledge to operate a 360-degree excavator. In order to pass the course, a candidate must pass a CSCS Health and Safety touchscreen test within the 2 years prior to the CPCS technical test.

2.1. Eligibility Criteria for the CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller Course

Logged RED trained operator card for Slinger Signaller – this option is only for workers who have sufficient knowledge, skills, and experience associated with NVQ/SVQ level 2/3 in plant operations. The RED card option will only be available until the 31st March 2017. After this date, you will need to upgrade to a BLUE skilled worker card.

Completed logged employer apprenticeship for Slinger/Signaller – this is only applicable for those who have been working as a Slinger/Signaller for a significant period of time and did not gain an NVQ or diploma.

Completed logged NVQ/SVQ level 2/3 in plant operations or level 2 diploma in plant operations. If you do not have these qualifications, you can take a CPCS A40 course with integrated training for candidates as an alternative.

Pre-event medical and drug screening certificate must be completed before attending the course, whether as a novice, experienced worker, or worker with an expired red card.

2.2. Physical Fitness and Health Requirements

You should be physically and mentally fit, have a good sense of balance, hand-eye coordination, be able to concentrate for long periods, as well as working as part of a team. Any delegates turning up for the course and are deemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be allowed to attend the course. Any fees paid will be non-refundable. Due to the nature of the work involving access and egress from machines and performing varied signalling tasks, it is vital that delegates are physically capable of carrying out the tasks competently and safely. If you have any unlisted medical conditions or have past or present injuries or recent surgeries, or you are pregnant, there may be a risk to you carrying out physical tasks associated with the course, so please check with your physician and inform us at Sibbald Training at the time of booking. Any information disclosed will be kept strictly confidential. Failure to notify us may result in the delegate being withdrawn from the course on the grounds of safety. Fees for non-attendance due to these reasons will be non-refundable.

Before booking to attend a CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller course, you should be aware of the following points regarding your fitness and health. You should also check the National Back Exchange Guidelines for Slinger Banksmen and signallers.

2.3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Needed

High visibility clothing is another essential item. The likelihood of working near or around operating plant is quite high, so wearing high visibility clothing is good practice throughout the course. This is also important for lifting operations near live carriageways, as the nearest motorway or an A road may need to be crossed. High visibility clothing is designed to make the wearer more visible, which will greatly reduce the risk of being struck by a moving vehicle. High visibility clothing should comply with EN471 on class 3 statistics.

Steel toe cap safety boots are also important. Along the same lines as the previous statement, the risk of materials falling off of a fork or digger is quite high as they will often travel up ramps to get onto higher ground. This hazard could also be present during jungle tracking the machine to direct the driver, so adequate foot protection is very important. Lifting operations also often take place near the beginning of the construction process, meaning that there is a possibility of standing in concrete which has only just been laid. Doing so in standard boots would pose a health and safety risk, as sharp items could be in the concrete and cause injury.

A safety helmet that complies with current EN 397 or other relevant standards is necessary. An industrial safety helmet is intended to protect the head from impact with heavy or sharp objects. They are also designed to reduce the force of the impact, which would certainly be needed with lifting and slinging where materials are being lifted over other workers. Construction will often be in its early stages too, where rough surfaces will be walked on, so the likelihood of tripping and material falling over is much more common.

3. Course Content

Rigging and Lifting Operations There is an excellent detailed explanation of lifting gear and accessories, which provides the knowledge of selecting the appropriate gear for a lifting operation. Step by step guidance is given for preparation of the gear and attaching to the load, ensuring candidates have an understanding of the safety measures to be taken during these operations. The course content also includes guidance for all types of lifting operations you may come across in the workplace, including a module for offshore lifting and Banksman activities.

Communication Techniques and Signals An in-depth guide of the standard method of communicating with lifting equipment is provided, using hand signals and the voice. Candidates will learn all the signals required for guiding the lifting team and the various signals required for directing a crane operator. This section is highly effective in aiding the candidates to memorize the signals and it gives a valuable monitoring tool for course assessment.

Safe Operation of Lifting Equipment This part of the course is tailored to those who are required to operate plant machinery whilst undertaking slinging and signalling duties. The candidates will gain an understanding of the machine’s capabilities and limitations. They will also learn the safe system of work regarding the movement and positioning of loads, to ensure they are providing the correct signals to the lifting team.

Understanding Slinger Signaller Duties and Responsibilities There is a comprehensive insight into the role and duties of the Slinger/Signaller on site, as this is a vital position in ensuring the safety of the lifting team and the plant equipment. All aspects are covered from the pre-lift assessment and lifting plan, to the supervision of the lifting team, and the monitoring of the lifting equipment. The responsibilities for correcting any unsafe practice are also covered.

3.1. Understanding Slinger Signaller Duties and Responsibilities

Finally, there is also a requirement to fill in a lifting report form at the end of the lift. This form is essential for evaluating whether the lift was carried out in a safe and controlled manner.

Another responsibility is to establish and maintain clear communication with the crane operator and other site personnel. You must have a good understanding of verbal and radio communication. You need to issue clear and precise instructions to the crane operator on the crane’s movement, speed, and stopping. You must keep all other site personnel out of the crane’s work area and well away from the crane. Often, crane operators and signallers fail to take notice of other site personnel entering into their work area, which is another common cause of accidents. You must also provide the crane operator with adequate warning of any obstructions or site hazards that may affect the lifting operation. Failure to understand or carry out these communication duties can lead to serious or fatal accidents.

An important part of the slinger’s/signaller’s responsibilities is to understand the lift plan and the written information outlined on the lift supervisor’s documentation. You should be fully conversant with the lifting equipment and the load: its weight, dimensions, center of gravity, lift points, and how to prepare the load to safely attach the lifting accessory. This information is vital to determine the correct lifting operation and what type of lifting accessory to use. Many lifting accidents occur because loads have been lifted with the wrong attachment. This is because the signaller has no understanding of what is required and has often left the choice to the crane operator.

Most accidents involving mobile cranes occur during lifting operations. Many of these could have been avoided if the slinger signaller had a better understanding of their responsibilities and, on occasions, a better understanding of the crane capabilities and limitations. For this reason, it is important that anyone appointed to a slinger signaller role should receive adequate training to undertake this task in a professional and safe manner.

3.2. Safe Operation of Lifting Equipment

The following topics would be covered in the session: 1.0 Legal responsibilities of employers and employees when operating a lifting machine. 2.0 Main types and lifting accessories and their limitations. 3.0 Knowledge of the operator’s manual, as this is an important point of reference for the lifting machine driver and slinger/signaller. 4.0 Basic understanding of the machine’s appointed tasks, i.e., duties it can carry out and what it cannot do. 5.0 Identifying safe working parameters for the lifting equipment. 6.0 Specific issues for lifting operations with excavators and 180-degree forward tipping dumpers. 7.0 Routine activities associated with the lifting machine, including pre-start inspection and safety checks, refueling, transportation, and maintenance (to be covered in individual plant type worksheets).

3.3. Communication Techniques and Signals

Communication is potentially the most dangerous part of the lifting team’s activity, and it is essential that any lifting operation is carefully planned, properly coordinated, and clearly communicated. These are essential parts of the lifting team’s activity that would safeguard any lifting operation. In order to effectively splice and dice a load in any 3D construction environment, the communication between the slinger and the machine operator has to be clear and meaningful. Because of that, it is essential to use the standard code of signals for crane operations. This would help to get the load exactly where it is required and also improve the slinger and signaller’s career prospects. This module is for the personnel who are new to the construction industry and those who want to refresh their communication skills, whether they are a slinger or a crane operator, when used with an attached below-the-hook lifting device. The code is applicable to lifting operations of any load, whether visibility is clear or hindered, and is intended to provide safety instructions for all hand signaling used between the slinger/signaller and the crane operator.

3.4. Rigging and Lifting Operations

CPCS A40 Slinger Signaller needs a basic understanding of the building structure to plan the movement of heavy materials and manage the activity, good knowledge of lifting operations so that best practice can be applied, and a clear understanding of their role and that of the plant operator so that the operation can be managed safely and efficiently with effective communication. This section of the course will guide the candidate through a series of rigging and lifting operations explaining best practice for management and delivery of the operations.

During this course, the slinger signaller will pick up a load, lift it to a given position, and then place it in this position. They should be able to select the appropriate lifting accessory and use the correct hand signals to direct the plant machinery operator in the movement of loads when the view is restricted. This is more complex than a simple lift and shift and requires a higher level of skill and knowledge. These operations are never the same, and examples may include moving materials from one place to another on a construction site, loading out goods from a storage facility, unloading a lorry, or positioning a large stone into a residential garden.

4. Assessment and Certification

The practical assessment will consist of the trainee undertaking a real or simulated slinging and signalling activity. The practical assessment must be done in a real work environment to gain a truly representative example of the trainee’s performance. The practical assessment will be documented by photographs showing the candidate performing slinging and signalling activities. Two photographs (one of the slinging activity and one of the signalling activity) are required to illustrate the 9 Core Skills for the CPCS Competent Operator Card for Slinger Signaller. If the trainee fails the practical assessment, they will only have to retake the practical assessment to achieve an overall pass for the Slinger Signaller Course.

Trainees will be required to undergo both a theory and practical assessment to confirm their ability to undertake slinging and signalling activities for the plant categories the A40 statement covers. These assessments can be undertaken at any approved CPCS Test Centre or at the employer’s premises (if suitable). The theory assessment will consist of a verbal questionnaire to test the trainee’s overall knowledge on slinging and signalling duties. The trainee must have a score of 80% or more to pass the theory assessment. If the trainee fails the theory assessment, they must undertake the theory assessment again before taking the practical assessment. The theory assessment will be documented by the CPCS Test Centre on the Theory and Practical Assessment Record Sheet in the CPCS Application Form (AF1).

4.1. Theory and Practical Assessments

The core knowledge section is based on the following topics: – Accident Reporting and Emergency Procedures – Hazardous Substances – Ergonomics and Manual Handling – Health and Welfare – General Safety, Protection, and the Environment.

The CPCS theory test is a touch screen computer-based health, safety, and environment test. The test is made up of two parts: the core knowledge section (50 multiple-choice questions) and the specialist test (5-10 multiple-choice questions dependent on the category).

To achieve the Red CPCS trained operator card, candidates must pass both the CPCS theory test and the CPCS practical test. To gain a Red CPCS trained operator card (and NVQ/SVQ certificate if required) with a qualification unit endorsement, candidates must pass both the CPCS theory and the relevant CPCS practical test.

4.2. Certification Process

Grading and feedback will be completed with the days of each course or the course consists of more than one day. Satisfactory candidates will receive a Trained Operator (Red) CPCS card. This is valid for 2 years and within this period, the person must work towards and achieve a Level 2 NVQ in Plant Operations to upgrade from the Trained Operator (red) card to the Competent Operator (blue) card. This will involve taking another Theory Test, Practical Test, and a Professional Discussion with the NVQ assessor. Once achieved, the blue card is valid for 5 years and can be renewed on the achievement of an Ongoing Competence (blue) card. During the period of validity for the Trained Operator (red) card or above, Renewal Tests are available and are a shortened version of a theory and practical test to renew the card for a further 5 years. Failed to achieve or upgrade to another category in the CPCS that requires the slinger signaller endorsements will leave the candidate holding a paper-based CPCS Competent Operator (blue) card with a still valid slinger signaller qualification recorded on it. This can be reissued as a Slinger Signaller (A40) red or blue Trained Operator card upon successful completion of the relevant theory and practical tests. Failure to renew a card before its expiry renders the card holder’s certification, Ongoing Competence (blue) card, and NVQ invalid, and the person will be required to register for a logbook or start anew with the relevant CPCS training and testing. Failure to renew a paper-based CPCS card before the expiry of any previous level of certification described will result in the person needing to register for a card application and pay the current rate for the CPCS test, starting anew with theory and practical tests for the respective card type and category.