How Do You Know if Someone is Qualified to Operate a Crane?

Crane OperatorCrane operation can be a delicate and detailed job, which makes it all the more important to be sure that the person behind the controls is well informed and qualified to run the machine. While most operators have years of experience, there are some ways to help be fully confident in a worker’s qualifications.

In a recent blog post, Spanco discussed how many crane operators are now being required by employers to undergo a certification process to work for the company. Such initiatives are a great way to ensure that an operator knows how to operate the exact crane or cranes that a company uses specifically, as well as familiarize themselves with the types of lifting and operational work that the position will entail. While an operator may have experience with tower crane operation, for example, they may not be familiar with the specific model of crane being used. In a way, this employer-driven certification serves as specialized on-the-job verification of an operator’s training, and can help assure the employer of a worker’s skill.

Skilled operators should also not only know how to operate a given crane, but also why they should work in a particular fashion. For example, an experienced crane operator should know what their lift limits are, but they should also know why those limits are set. Can exceeding the weight strain the crane structure, or is it likely to cause the crane to tip over? A skilled operator will know the answer to these questions from years of on-the-job experience and training.

Spanco also notes that operators are distinct from crane inspectors. Crane inspectors undergo extensive training on crane systems and components, covering proper maintenance procedures, inspection requirements and assembly of a lift system. By contrast, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration outline of an operator is defined as a person who controls the swing of a crane hook, according to the Spanco post. While an operator can also be an inspector, employers should not expect that an operator is trained to complete a detailed inspection or perform maintenance duties.

By implementing a safety and/or certification plan at your organization and having a grounded expectation of your crane operators, you can help to ensure that your project or lift requirements will be performed safely and securely.