The Different Roles on a Crane Jobsite

Crane supervisor watching a lift When you rent a crane from Astro Crane, there are several crane operation jobs involved at most construction sites. What are some of those jobs and/or roles?

Crane Operator

A crane operator drives and operates the crane. Before (and after) work, they will also inspect the crane to make sure everything looks good, and they may do some light maintenance work if needed. Meanwhile, they are also responsible for checking the site conditions around and above the crane to make sure the ground is level enough, and there aren’t any obstructions in the air above or near the crane. Typically, crane operators will also decide whether to place steel plates or timber under the outrigger pads, depending on ground conditions. And if the weather is too windy, they might decide to delay their work. Also, crane operators need to check the instruments in the crane cabin, ensuring loads are within safe limits as well as following signals their team members give them which ensures correct load placement. As you can imagine, being a crane operator involves a lot of little details and is quite involved.


Besides crane operators, you’ll likely find riggers at worksites. These are the workers who move heavy materials and equipment around worksites. They’re also responsible for setting up crane equipment and any temporary structures needed to make it possible for the crane to do its duties. Riggers use things like chain blocks, slings, shackles, chokers and winches to do their jobs. They might also assemble (and/or lift/erect) things such as precast/prefabricated panels and structural steel as needed. A rigger not only needs to work safely, but also needs to make sure the load being lifted is stable. Therefore, they often have to estimate the weight and size of lifted objects and make decisions on what equipment to use to move them around– and they also have to watch out for any hazards associated with lifts. Riggers work in tandem with crane operators, sending them signals and helping to guide them along with their lifts. They also inspect lifting gear before and after lifts to check for any issues such as damages.


In addition to crane operators and riggers, worksites often have spotters on site as well. Spotters usually work in teams, slinging loads and being the eyes of the crane operator when the lift is out of their view. They might use hand signals, whistles or radio communication. Spotters basically help direct the crane operator during the movement of loads; They also sling loads using proper techniques. Therefore, they are intimately familiar with lifting gear, inspecting it before each use– and knowing what works best for whatever is being lifted. Spotters also make sure people working around loads and cranes are kept safe.


silhouette of crane and worker in construction site

Is anyone in charge of all of these workers, including crane operators? Typically, there’s a site supervisor watching over everybody and everything on site. They supervise the worksite and whatever work is being done. They keep in mind rules and regulations that need to be followed, and they make sure crane areas are prepared properly, with enough room for assembling or disassembling the crane. They pay attention to things like access roads, power lines, ground conditions, soil, wind gusts, weather issues, etc. Site supervisors also want to make sure that all the workers on site are qualified to be doing the job they’re doing– and that all inspections are carried out as intended.

Lift Director

Similar to a site supervisor, there’s the position of lift director. This is someone who is responsible for overseeing the work being performed by the crane and its rigging crew. So, the site supervisor takes a wider look at what’s going on at a worksite, while the lift director’s focus is more narrow. Lift directors need to be on site for all lifting operations and they’d be the ones to halt operations if alerted to any unsafe conditions. Obviously, they’re in contact with the crane operator, and they also lead the workers in terms of making sure they know and understand their responsibilities (and any associated hazards). In essence, they’re the leader of the lift, above even the crane operator. Lift operators will make sure rigging is done well, and that loads are properly rigged and balanced.

Crane Rentals in New England

If and when you rent a crane from Astro Crane of New England, it’s important to take into account all the people involved at worksites to make for successful lifts. Of course you want a competent crane operator, but you also need a good crew, overall, to ensure safety, carry out inspections and do the job(s) properly.

For more information about Astro Crane rentals, please call 978-429-8666.