Life of a Lift Director

Skilled construction workers can perform in many different roles throughout the day. When it’s time for a lift, worker roles become well defined, ranging from the rigger to the signal person. Overseeing lift operations is the Lift Director. Yet the role of a lift director includes so much more than oversight. Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at the life of a lift director to learn what exactly they contribute to a crane site.

What is a Lift Director?

According to Industrial Training International, the lift director is appointed by the site supervisor. The lift director works with all other workers on site, including the crane operator, rigger and signal person. Total Equipment Training explains that the lift director is responsible for coordinating lifts, and should therefore be on site at all times. explains the lift director should have solid working knowledge of load handling equipment (LHEs), rigging and safe load handling procedures. However, this doesn’t mean the appointed director needs prior experience in another crane role, such as operator or rig master. What’s necessary is that the director knows enough to get into the details of a specific role while still being able to oversee entire procedures. This leads us to the essence of the lift director role: coordination.

The Mighty Coordinator

Since the lift director works with other workers, it’s necessary for them to possess a vast knowledge of anything related to crane equipment and procedures. This includes crane capacities and limitations, load charts, and proper conditions for a lift to take place. The lift director may also be involved in creating the lift plan, a detailed document that outlines every aspect of the lift, from equipment specifications to load description to personnel involved.

According to the Specialized Carrier and Rigging Association (SC&RA), the lift director should hold pre-lift meetings to ensure workers know their roles. The director needs to discuss with the site supervisor any safety issues related to the site. If security or traffic control is necessary, the lift director is responsible for helping them properly barricade and secure the site from pedestrians or nearby structures. Depending on the situation, the director might call for a practice lift without the load so workers know the workings of the site.

Sometimes, it’s necessary for the site to pull in experts from areas outside the knowledge of the employees on site. The lift director is often the one responsible for contacting designated personnel regarding emergency plans, engineering concerns or regulatory requirements.

Finding the Right Lift Director

Everyday the lift director is trusted with the safety of the crew and others around the site. SC&RA explains that a lift director needs to be a natural-born leader, one that others trust enough to follow. The right person is also dependable, reliable, and understands how to handle high-pressure situations. Depending on the size and nature of the load, more than one lift director may be needed, allowing each one to work around their limits and experience.

The director utilizes his vast knowledge to answer questions and address issues regarding crane safety and protocol, coordinating lift operations and reaching out to outside experts when necessary. In a nutshell, the value lift directors add to crane operations is indispensable. The next time you step onto a site, remember these workers do so much more than stand and watch. If anything, it’s this very attention that’s keeping everyone safe.

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