What is a Crane Operator?

Are you interesting in operating a crane? If you have good communication skills, excellent judgment and the ability to keep cool under stress, this career may be for you!

A crane operator uses a crane to transport various objects within a construction zone. There are many different types, makes, models and sizes of cranes, such as mobile cranes, tower cranes, boom trucks and self-erect tower cranes.

What does a Crane Operator do?

A crane operator using the gears in a crane.

Crane operators typically do the following:
- Control equipment with levers, wheels, or foot pedals
- Move material according to a plan or schedule they receive from their superiors
- Set up and inspect material moving equipment
- Make minor repairs to their equipment
- Record material they have moved and where they moved it from and to

In warehouse environments, most crane operators use forklifts and conveyor belts. Automated sensors and tags are increasingly used to keep track of merchandise, allowing operators to work faster. In warehouses, operators usually work closely with hand material movers.

Many crane operators work for underground and surface mining companies. They help to dig or expose the mine, remove the earth and rock, and extract the ore and other mined materials.

In construction, crane operators remove earth to clear space for buildings. Some work on a building site for the entire length of the construction project. For example, operators often help to construct high-rise buildings by transporting materials to workers far above ground level. Mobile cranes are used to do work a boom truck can’t do – higher lifts, heavier loads, and lifts that need a longer reach.

Interested in becoming a crane operator?

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What is the workplace of a Crane Operator like?

Crane operators work in a variety of industries, such as pulp mills and refineries, construction, mining, metal manufacturing, and warehousing and storage.

Some of the older cranes can be very noisy and using ear protection is essential. The crane operator often stays in the crane for most of the day, and eats lunch and takes breaks in the cab. They spend all day in constant communication with other people, and operate using hand signals from the crew or by using radios.

Tower and mobile cranes can be very dangerous and often lethal if they fall or have a mechanical failure.

Crane Operators are also known as:
Certified Crane Operator