What is a Crane Operator?
A Crane Operator’s primary responsibility is moving objects from one place to another using one of many types of cranes. Crane Operators may be employed by a company or operate as independent contractors, using their own equipment. Crane Operators often spend all day in their cranes, including breaks, which can be noisy and uncomfortable.
Crane Operators work in a variety of settings, such as warehouses, ports, construction and industrial sites and surface mines. While some positions accept entry-level candidates, most employers prefer one to five years of experience in a related field, such as construction or mining. There is a growing demand for Crane Operators, with 1,290 new job openings (8 percent growth) projected through 2024, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Crane Operator Duties and Responsibilities
Following Safety Protocol
Operating the Crane
Communicating with Team Members
Crane Operator Skills
Both responsible and detail-oriented, Crane Operators must be able to carefully analyze each and every job ticket and ensure the safety of those around them and to the materials being moved. They must be able to sit in tight spaces for long periods of time, so anyone suffering from claustrophobia or agoraphobia may not be right for this job.
Core skills Below are the most basic skills that employers sought for Crane Operator candidates
- Excellent manual dexterity, flexibility and physical strength
- Mechanical knowledge of the design and use of equipment they work with, as well as the ability to make minor repairs
- Excellent depth perception, hand-eye coordination and a fast reaction time
- Ability to critically think and be able to make a good judgment call quickly
- Organizational skills to keep track of and record the details of job tickets
Advanced skills Candidates with these specialized skills can gain an upper hand in securing employment over the competition.
- Good understanding of mathematics, algebra, geometry and calculus
- Experience in construction or mining
- Experience in truck driving
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Crane Operator Salary
Crane Operator Resources
Learn more about what the job of a Crane Operator entails with the following resources:
On the WebCrane Operator
Dedicated to providing news to make the crane industry safer.Americas Heavy Equipment Operator Training School
Offering comprehensive Crane Operator training.Crane Tech Blog
A blog from a Crane Operator training center.
BooksCrane Safety Handbook: For Operators and Ground Crew - 2nd Edition
Comprehensive jobsite reference for anyone working with cranes.IPT’s Crane and Rigging Handbook and Training Manual
by Ronald G. Garby Explains the rigging process with sections on prelift planning, material handling, aerial platforms and barge, ship and offshore cranes.Crane Operator’s Daily Maintenance Book
by Happy Vale Publishing Pte Ltd This book covers topics like hour meter reading, crane parts that need to be checked and how to label whether they are satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
Crane Operator Robert MacFarlane, from Toronto, Canada, who is known on social media for taking amazing photos from his perch atop the L Tower on The Esplanade.@CraneandRigging
Leading source for the crane, rigging and specialized transport industry.@moelepage
Tower and Mobile Crane Operator, and Instructor for The Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO).