Signallers and Spotters
[OHS General Regs., S. x] Follow these links
to related legislation.
Highlighted words reveal
definitions and supplementary
information when selected.
Signallers and spotters play a critical role in directing the safe operation and movement of heavy machinery and vehicle traffic in various construction and industrial operations. They are important in situations that require lowering materials into an excavation or trench, guiding the movement of powered mobile equipment and hoisting apparatuses such as cranes, and controlling vehicle traffic. Their role is also needed when a vehicle or equipment operator’s vision is restricted, or their intended path of travel is obstructed. As most worksites with heavy machinery and equipment are loud and busy, signallers and spotters provide essential communication between equipment operators and ground workers through visual or auditory signals. The agreed-upon signals used between the operator and the designated signaller or spotter help eliminate or minimize the risk of collisions and accidents.
Employers must take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of people at their workplace. [OHS Act, S. 12 (1)(a)]
For work involving excavations, trenches and construction, the employer must:
- Make sure that operators only lower material into an excavation or trench when there is unrestricted visibility or when a signaller is present to direct the movement of the material. [OHS General Regs., S. 12.7]
- Provide trained signallers to control the flow of traffic in areas where construction work is being performed and worker safety is endangered by vehicle traffic. [OHS General Regs., S. 12.12(3)]
- Provide reflectorized vests or jackets which all signallers must wear when controlling the flow of traffic. [OHS General Regs., S. 12.12(4)]
- Provide reflectorized paddles which all signallers must use to control the flow of traffic. [OHS General Regs., S. 12.12(5)]
Powered Mobile Equipment
For work involving powered mobile equipment, the employer must designate a worker to provide signals to an equipment operator when the operator’s view is obstructed. The operator must only operate the equipment based on signals that have been mutually agreed upon between them and the designated signaller. [OHS General Regs., S. 33.14]
For situations where a hoisting apparatus is used, the employer must:
- Make sure that the operator of the hoisting apparatus moves a load only when a signal is provided from a designated signaller unless they have a clear, unobstructed view of the load throughout the operation. [OHS General Regs., S. 34.6(3)(b)] [OHS General Regs., S. 34.7]
- Designate a signaller to guide the movement of the crane when the crane is being moved from one location to another. [OHS General Regs., S. 34.11]
In operations involving electricity, the employer must make sure that no person operates a crane or similar lifting device closer than the length of the boom of the crane to a power line unless they have a competent signaller stationed within view to warn them of danger from the power line. [OHS General Regs., S. 36.44]
In forest operations, the employer must make sure that when a signaller is used in the loading and unloading of logs, they must stand at one end of the logs, clear of danger, and remain visible to the loader or yarder operator. [OHS General Regs., S. 41.39]
Handling and Storage of Materials
For work involving handling and storing materials, the employer must make sure that when two or more workers are lifting or carrying heavy objects, the process of raising and lowering these loads should be guided by well-understood signals to ensure the actions are coordinated. [OHS General Regs., S. 43.8(c)]
For vehicle traffic control, the employer must make sure that signallers are employed in situations where: [OHS General Regs., S. 50.3]
- Construction work is being carried out in areas where worker safety is at risk due to vehicle traffic
- The roadway is normally used for two-way operation but is restricted to one-way traffic
- Any activity or obstruction on the shoulder or part of the roadway does not allow for the following clearances
- 3 meters per traffic lane for speeds up to 50 km/h
- 3.5 meters per traffic lane for speeds over 50 km/h
Please see the traffic control topic for more information.
Workers must: [OHS Act, S. 16]
- Follow all workplace safety procedures.
- Establish in advance of the work, the signals that will be used between them and the designated signaller or spotter.
- Properly use and wear the required protective clothing and devices.
- Comply with the OHS Act and its regulations.
- Report hazards to a supervisor.
Part 12 EXCAVATIONS, TRENCHES AND CONSTRUCTION
Section 12.7 Lowering materials
12.7 The employer shall ensure that no operator lowers material into an excavation or trench and no operator shall lower material into an excavation or trench unless
(a) the operator has unrestricted visibility; or
(b) a signaller is used to direct the movement of the material.
Section 12.12 Illumination of materials
12.12 (1) When materials piled along the sides of any excavation or trench interfere with the flow of traffic, the employer shall ensure that the material is adequately illuminated by warning lights.
(2) When construction work is being carried out which interferes with the flow of traffic, the employer shall ensure that adequate warning signs are posted in both directions not less than 225 m (738 ft.) from the worksite, and at any intersection between the warning signs.
(3) When construction work is being carried out in areas where worker safety is endangered by vehicle traffic, the employer shall provide trained signallers to control the flow of traffic.
(4) The employer shall provide and all signallers shall wear a reflectorized vest or jacket when controlling the flow of traffic.
(5) The employer shall provide and all signallers shall use reflectorized paddles to control the flow of traffic.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Part 33 POWERED MOBILE EQUIPMENT
Section 33.14 Signals
33.14 Where repair or maintenance work is carried out at the point of articulation on front end loaders or similar powered mobile equipment, the employer shall ensure that lock bars are used to prevent movement of either end of the loader or similar equipment.
[EC2021-126, s. 29]
Part 34 HOISTING APPARATUS
Section 34.6 Responsibilities of employer
34.6 (1) The employer shall ensure that the operator of hoisting apparatus follows the procedures prescribed in subsection (3).
(2) The employer shall ensure that when mobile cranes are working in an area where the swing clearance of an obstruction is less than 600 mm (2 ft.), adequate barriers are installed to prevent workers from entering the area.
(3) The operator of hoisting apparatus shall
(a) visually inspect the hoisting apparatus before use to verify that it is in safe working order;
(b) move a load only on a signal from a signaller designated under section 34.7 unless he has an unobstructed view of the load at all times during the operation;
(c) raise a load vertically or, if necessary to raise a load obliquely, take precautions to avoid endangering workers;
(d) avoid carrying a load over workers;
(e) not leave a suspended load unattended.
(4) The employer shall ensure that a tag line or guide rope is used to control loads which may swing while being moved.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Section 34.7 Signals
34.7 (1) The employer shall ensure that the operator of a hoisting apparatus moves a load only on a signal from a signaller designated under this section.
(2) The signaller designated under subsection (1) shall
(a) be identifiable;
(b) govern the movements of a load by a well understood distinctive code of signals or an effective communication system;
(c) obtain the assistance of another competent signaller if part of the view of the load is obstructed from both the signaller and the operator;
(d) ensure that all ropes, chains, slings or other attachments are properly applied to the load and secured to the hooks of the hoisting apparatus and that the area is clear before signalling to move the load.
Section 34.11 Change of location
34.11 When a crane is moving from one location to another under its own power, the employer shall
(a) ensure that precautions are taken to prevent the boom from swinging; and
(b) designate a signaller to guide the movement of the crane.
Part 36 ELECTRICITY
Section 36.44 Crane operation near power line
36.44 The employer shall ensure that no person shall operate a crane or similar lifting device closer than the length of the boom of the crane to a power line for electricity unless he has a competent signal man stationed within his view to warn him of danger from the power line.
Part 41 FOREST OPERATIONS
Section 41.39 Signalman, location
41.39 Where a signalman is used in the loading or unloading of logs, the signalman shall stand at one end of the logs well in the clear and shall remain visible to the loader or yarder operator.
Part 43 HANDLING & STORAGE OF MATERIALS
Section 43.8 Handling materials
43.8 The employer shall ensure that
(a) where practicable, mechanical appliances shall be provided and used for lightening and carrying materials and articles;
(b) workers assigned to handle material shall be instructed how to lift and carry material on an individual basis, the overriding factor being the physical condition of each worker including sex and age when relevant;
(c) where heavy objects are lifted or carried by two or more workers, the raising and lowering of the loads shall be governed by well understood signals in order to ensure unity of action;
(d) where heavy objects, such as loaded drums or tanks, are handled on inclines in either direction
(i) ropes or other tackle shall be used to control their motion, in addition to the necessary chocks or wedges, and
(ii) workers shall be prohibited from standing between the skids on the downhill side;
(e) where heavy objects are moved by means of rollers, bars or sledges shall be used instead of hands or feet for changing the direction of the rollers while in motion;
(f) workers handling objects with sharp edges, fins, slivers, splinters or similar dangerous projecting parts, or handling hot, caustic or corrosive material, shall be provided with and shall use suitable protective clothing and equipment;
(g) unless specific instructions are given to the contrary, loaded boxes and crates shall be piled on the sides having largest area;
(h) the piles shall be effectively cross-tied by suitable means;
(i) loaded cartons shall not be piled to such a height as to cause collapse of the lower cartons in the pile and shall be protected against moisture;
(j) lumber stored in yards shall be piled on supports above the grounds, the horizontal or slightly inclined layers separated by tie pieces, the ends of which will not project into walkways;
(k) pipe and bar stock shall, where practicable, be piled on stable storage racks so located that the withdrawal of the material does not create a hazard;
(l) where empty barrels or drums, large pipe, rolls of paper or other cylindrical objects are piled on their sides, the piles shall be symmetrical and stable; and every unit in the bottom row shall be carefully wedged;
(m) where storage racks are not provided for pipe and bar stock, the stock shall be piled on layers resting on wood strips with stock blocks fixed on the ends or on metal bars with unturned end;
(n) where loaded barrels, drums or keys are piled on their ends, the piles should be low and two planks should be laid side by side on top of each row before another row is started;
(o) equipment or objects, such as foundry flasks, forging dies, foundry castings and the like, shall be piled in a stable, orderly way on level and substantial foundation and arranged in order of size and type.
[EC2021-126, s. 3]
Part 50 TRAFFIC CONTROL
Section 50.3 Employer responsibilities
50.3 The employer shall ensure signallers are employed
(a) when construction work is being carried out in areas where worker safety is endangered by vehicle traffic;
(b) where the roadway is normally a two-way operation and traffic is restricted to one-way traffic movement;
(c) where any activity or obstruction exists on the shoulder or a portion of the roadway, which does not allow for the following clearances:
(i) 3 m per traffic lane for speeds up to 50 km/hr.,
(ii) 3.5 m per traffic lane for speeds over 50 km/hr.
[EC225/91, s. 1; EC2021-126, s. 3]
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. O-1.01
Section 12 Duties of employers
12. (1) An employer shall ensure
(a) that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect the occupational health and safety of persons at or near the workplace;
(b) that any item, device, material, equipment or machinery provided for the use of workers at a workplace is properly maintained, and is properly equipped with the safety features or devices, as recommended by the manufacturer or required by the regulations;
(c) that such information, instruction, training, supervision and facilities are provided as are necessary to ensure the occupational health and safety of the workers;
(d) that workers and supervisors are familiar with occupational health or safety hazards at the workplace;
(e) that workers are made familiar with the proper use of all safety features or devices, equipment and clothing required for their protection; and
(f) that the employer's undertaking is conducted so that workers are not exposed to occupational health or safety hazards as a result of the undertaking.
(2) An employer shall
(a) consult and cooperate with the joint occupational health and safety committee or the representative, as applicable;
(b) cooperate with any person performing a duty or exercising a power conferred by this Act or the regulations;
(c) provide such additional training of committee members as may be prescribed by the regulations;
(d) comply with this Act and the regulations and ensure that workers at the workplace comply with this Act and the regulations; and
(e) where an occupational health and safety policy or occupational health and safety program is required under this Act, establish the policy or program.
(3) An employer shall establish and implement as a policy, in accordance with the regulations, measures to prevent and investigate occurrences of harassment in the workplace.
[S.P.E.I. 2018, c. 45, s. 3]
Section 16 Duties of worker
16. (1) A worker, while at work, shall
(a) take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker's own occupational health and safety and that of other persons at or near the workplace;
(b) cooperate with the employer and with the other workers to protect the worker's own occupational health and safety and that of other persons at or near the workplace;
(c) wear or use such individual protective equipment as is required by this Act and the regulations;
(d) consult and cooperate with the committee or representative, if any;
(e) cooperate with any person performing a duty or exercising a power conferred by this Act or the regulations; and
(f) comply with this Act and the regulations and any policy or program established by an employer pursuant to this Act or the regulations.
(2) Where a worker believes that any item, device, material, equipment or machinery, condition or aspect of the workplace is or may be dangerous to the worker's occupational health or safety or that of other persons at or near the workplace, the worker
(a) shall immediately report it to a supervisor;
(b) shall, where the matter is not remedied to the worker's satisfaction, report it to the committee or the representative, if any; and
(c) may, where the matter is not remedied to the worker's satisfaction after the worker reports it in accordance with clauses (a) and (b), report it to an officer.
(3) Clause (2)(b) does not apply in respect of a complaint of harassment in the workplace.
[S.P.E.I. 2018, c. 45, s. 4]