Understanding the Difference Between a Banksman and a Slinger

Banksman and a Slinger

In construction and heavy lifting operations, various roles are crucial for ensuring safety and efficiency. Two positions that are integral to the smooth execution of lifting tasks are that of a banksman and a slinger. Both are essential in managing the movement of heavy loads but have distinct responsibilities and skill sets. 

In this blog, we will explore what banksmen and slingers do and highlight the critical differences between the two roles. 

What is a Banksman?

A banksman, often referred to as a “signalman” or “flagman,” is a vital member of a construction or heavy lifting team. Their primary role is to guide crane and heavy equipment operators to ensure the safe movement of loads on construction sites or other industrial settings. By communicating with operators and providing clear signals, banksmen ensure that heavy loads and machinery are moved in a coordinated and secure manner.

What is a Slinger?

A slinger, sometimes called a “rigger” or “signalman”, is another integral role in the construction and heavy lifting industry. While the banksman focuses on signalling and guiding the crane or equipment operator, the slinger is responsible for the physical attachment and detachment of loads to and from the lifting equipment, such as cranes or hoists.

Slingers are primarily responsible for ensuring that loads are safely connected to the lifting equipment and are correctly positioned and balanced. Their role is crucial in preventing accidents and damage to the load and ensuring the overall efficiency of lifting operations.

What is the Difference Between a Banksman and a Slinger?


The most significant difference between a banksman and a slinger lies in their responsibilities. The banksman is primarily responsible for directing the crane or equipment operator through signals, managing the movement of loads, and ensuring overall site safety.  The Slinger focuses on physically attaching, detaching, and properly securing the loads to the lifting equipment. 


Banksman training helps those in the role understand their duties and responsibilities. It covers various topics, including transport hazards, how to assess and control risks, and important hand signals and safety procedures.

In contrast, slingers undergo training focused on rigging techniques, load preparation, and load capacity calculations. This training ensures they can effectively attach, balance, and secure loads.


Banksmen have continuous interaction with crane operators and equipment operators, primarily via hand signals and radio communication. 

Slingers work more closely with the loads and lifting equipment, interacting with riggers, crane operators, and banksmen to ensure the load is safely attached and detached.

Safety Focus

While both roles prioritise safety, banksmen play a more overarching role in site safety, ensuring that loads do not pose a risk to personnel or equipment. 

Slingers focus on protecting load handling, ensuring the load is correctly attached and balanced, and preventing accidents during lifting and lowering.


Banksmen require a deep understanding of site safety procedures and crane and equipment operations. They must also be able to interpret and communicate hand signals accurately. 

Slingers need in-depth knowledge of rigging, load configurations, and the proper use of lifting accessories.


Understanding the differences between banksman and slingers is crucial for maintaining safety and efficiency in construction and heavy lifting operations. Banksmen and slingers are two distinct positions that require specialised training programmes to develop the knowledge and skills needed for their respective roles. 

The banksman’s primary function is to provide clear signals, guidance, and communication to crane and equipment operators for coordination and overall site safety. The slinger is responsible for the physical attachment and detachment of loads, focusing on rigging and load handling. 


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