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   As a good writer does, he reads up on a subject before he attempts to tackle an article. So, let’s give credit where credit is due. One of our employees, Russ Gallivan, recently wrote a blog for the Colorado Crane Operator School and I felt it was worth sharing with our readers. Most of what you read today comes from Russ’s blog. Thanks Russ.
Often, when you ask a crane operator what their job entails, they will reply with an answer that may sound like... “I sit back and pull levers.” As simple as that sounds, their job comes with great responsibility. However, with great responsibility comes great rewards. Let’s dive into a certified crane operator’s role and the responsibility that comes with that title.
As you already may know, every crane operator needs to
be certified by an ANSI accredited organization, such as NCCCO. This includes all types of cranes ranging from All Terrain Mobile Cranes to Boom Trucks to Tower Cranes. In short, if it has a winch on it that can hoist greater than 2,000 pounds, then the operator needs to be certified. It is also the operator’s responsibility to maintain their certification, not the employers. However, the employer is required to perform the operator evaluations. There is a level of responsibility that each operator takes when he/she takes the seat, just like a driver’s responsibility when they get behind the wheel of a car. This cannot be understated.
Obviously, the operator must know the appropriate OSHA (1926.1400 Subpart CC) and ASME regulations (B 30.5) and standards. But these are simply the basics of what it takes
to become a well-rounded and dependable operator. Each operator must know their crane “inside and out”. This is in part done by reading and understanding the operator’s manual for his or her crane. The operator needs to understand the limitations of the crane, how to properly set up and disassemble, and have a strong understanding of the load charts. Understanding the load charts are critical and contain detailed information. Trusting the computer is never a
valid strategy. The computer will only give you the proper information if it has been input correctly by the operator.
It is the operator’s responsibility to run the crane in a smooth and controlled manner but also understand their ability to keep the load under control. This including during sudden weather or wind changes. Proper load control takes time, experience, and knowing your limitations.
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In addition to operating the crane smoothly and in a professional manner, the operator must have a strong background in rigging. The OSHA and ANSI standards do not require operators to be Qualified Riggers, but it does help significantly during hoisting operations. OSHA and ANSI
are also very clear that it is not the Operator or the Rigger’s responsibility to determine the weight of the load. It is the Lift Director’s responsibility. Many times, we see that the Operator is designated as the Lift Director on site but, has your operator been trained in this responsibility?
Operators also need to develop strong communication skills. That includes both oral and written communication, along with being technically sound. The crews on the job site often look
to the operator to get the job done safely and efficiently. He/ she must have the ability to take complete charge of all safety pertaining to the crane operations. You also need the ability
to stand your ground when being pushed to do something unsafe. The operator is solely accountable for operating the crane and moving the load in a safe manner.
There are only a few key responsibilities that a certified and qualified operator possesses:
• Operators must be trained and certified by an ANSI accredited organization
• Know and understand OSHA, ANSI, ASME, and the manufacturers safety requirements
• Be qualified to operate by type and capacity
• Evaluated for task, skills, and configuration of the crane
• Operate the crane safely and stop when anything is in question
In addition to an operator on your site, do you have a Qualified Rigger and Signal Person, designated Site Supervisor with crane safety training, an Assembly and Disassembly Director, and a Lift Director? Each of these roles have specific responsibilities.
To learn more about what it takes to become a crane operator or to improve your team’s knowledge, reach out to the Colorado Crane Operator School. Companies and individuals who continue to build upon their knowledge base will only improve their worth in the marketplace.
Expert Insight
Crane Operator Responsibilities
by Troy Clark
President at MSC Safety Solutions/Crane and Rigging Consultants/Colorado Crane Operator School. Email: |

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