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Talk of the Trade: Crane Lingo for Beginners

“Hey, get the dogman to help us sling that load with a double-whip, tag it with a quad, then get a nice lift!”


No clue what we’re on about? You’re not alone. If you’ve ever wondered what all the words being thrown around onsite mean, we’re here to explain. When working in construction or with complicated pieces of machinery, jargon is used to simplify elaborate concepts. Once you understand the lingo used in crane processes, it becomes easy to comprehend more about the operation and what’s happening onsite. Cranes may be complex instruments but the language of crane operators is easy to pick up. This article will help you navigate St George Cranes, where you can hire six different crane types at the click of a button.


Here’s some basic lingo to get under your belt:


Whipline: A secondary rope system that lifts lighter loads than the main rope system. Also called a runner or auxiliary. 


Double-whip: Using two hoist lines simultaneously to lift a load for extra stability.


Dogman: Effectively a crane spotter, this is a person who directs the crane operator during a lift. They use hand signals or a two-way radio.


Sling: A removable accessory made of wire rope, chain, or synthetic materials used to secure and lift loads. It is attached to the crane hook and supports the load during lifting.


Tag: The act of attaching additional lines, typically taglines, to the load. Taglines are used to control movement of the load and prevent swinging or spinning.


Quad: Refers to using four taglines to secure and control the load during lifting. This helps to ensure precise positioning and stability.


Lift: The process of raising and moving a load using a crane. It involves the coordinated efforts of the crane operator, dogman, and other personnel involved in the lifting operation.


Boom Length: The distance from the foot of the crane’s boom to the tip. It determines the maximum reach or extension of the crane.


Jib Extension: A moveable extension that attaches to the end of the crane’s boom, providing additional reach and flexibility for lifting operations.


Counterbalance: Heavy weights, often located at the rear of the crane, used to offset the weight of the load being lifted. They help maintain the crane’s stability and prevent tipping.


Tandem Lift: When two or more cranes work together to lift and move a load simultaneously. This technique allows for heavier loads or increased reach.


Boom Angle: The angle formed between the boom and the horizontal plane. It affects the crane’s lifting capacity, stability, and range of motion.


MRC: Maximum Rated Capacity. This is the maximum gross load that may be applied to the crane or hoist, as per manufacturer directions.


Deadman Control: A safety feature that requires the operator to continuously hold down a control lever or button to keep the crane in operation. Releasing the control stops the crane’s movement.


Pick and Carry: A capability of certain mobile cranes to lift loads and transport them while keeping the load suspended. This allows for efficient and versatile material handling.


Hook Block: The assembly at the end of the crane’s hoist line that connects to the load. It often contains multiple sheaves (pulleys) to increase lifting capacity and control.


Crane Boom Elevation: The vertical movement of the crane’s boom. It allows the operator to adjust the height of the load during lifting operations without repositioning the entire crane.

Remember, this list represents just a portion of the extensive lingo used by crane operators. Understanding these terms will give you a solid foundation to engage in conversations and comprehend crane operations more effectively. Contact St George Cranes for help on your next job. If necessary, we provide crane operators who will worry about all this stuff for you!

Date posted: June 18, 2023 | St George Cranes