What It Is Like to Operate a Construction Crane

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Today it is common to observe yellow and red tower cranes erected at incredible heights at construction sites in large metropolitan areas. In addition, you can often see signboards of big and small crane rental companies in your area. These engineering marvels are an essential component of the modern building, and the construction industry is lifting and lowering tons of construction material quickly and reliably where they are needed. But the work is not so simple as it looks. A person is sitting at the top of the crane in a cabin listening to the supervisor on the radio, watching the signals from the ground crew, checking the wind speed, assessing the load weights and their gravitational effects, and operating the levers simultaneously. The crane operator at a construction site is not an easy job. The operator needs certifications, skill, knowledge, and decision power to perform their responsibilities with safety precautions.  

Here, we will describe how it looks to operate a crane and what it takes to be or hire a crane operator. 

Certification Requirements For A Crane Operator

The government agency regulates the certification and authorization to work on a crane as an operator, and their requirements can vary. But there are certain common conditions required by most of the certification agencies like a minimum age limit (usually 18 years), a minimum education level (generally high school diploma or equivalent), apprenticeship, or minimum hands-on training (offered at vocational training and community colleges) and a written exam about machine safety, maintenance and regulations. Dependable Crane School is our sister company that offers similar training certifications.

Check, Check and Check

As a crane operator, your works start before entering the cabin:

  1. You should know the crane you will operate and read the manufacturer’s instructions for correct operations with safety.
  2. You need to be fully aware of the weather conditions of the day. The tower crane operations are directly affected by the weather, especially wind. So, you need to listen to weather reports and make plans according to the conditions for the day.
  3. While climbing the cabin, you need to inspect critical structure areas like bolts and connections routinely.

Look for any damage to the cables, brakes, drivers, and moving parts. The construction crane site schedules are very tight. Ensuring that you keep the project moving saves on project costs. Small neglect causing breakdown for few hours can disrupt the whole workflow and throw the schedule off for weeks resulting in thousands of dollars loss. Once you’ve ensured the integrity and working conditions of the crane, you can enter the cabin, check the panel, gauges reading, and radio. Next, inspect the site from the cabin, along with enjoying the view! If it is all clear, you are good to go.

Crane Safety First

Keeping the working environment safe is your topmost priority and responsibility. You must make sure every move you make or every load you pick to go through the safest route. A good operator should constantly watch for people and equipment at the site and be aware of their location before any movement. You should have the ability to judge the risks involved in each maneuver and the courage to refuse if it is not safe. If a safety concern is identified, it’s essential not to bow to any pressure to continue but rather stand your ground. Unfortunately, most of the accidents by both tower and mobile cranes occur by pushing the operators and cranes beyond the capacity or crane safety limits.

Your Responsibilities As A Crane Operator Daily

You will be performing lifts on a typical day, unloading trucks, pouring concrete, shifting, and moving equipment and materials around the construction site. During these operations, you are not only performing maneuvers with the joystick, but you should also be able to communicate with hand and radio signals, monitor safety systems, keep track of wind and weight capacity. Besides these tasks, the duty of an operator includes assembling tower cranes at the site and routine maintenance like cleaning and lubrication the construction crane.

What Skills You Need To Be A Good Operator

The operator sitting in their cabin cannot work in isolation. Your communications with the signal person are most important. With proper communication skills to understand hand, visual, and radio signals, you can avoid accidents and collisions. This position needs you to be mindful and awoke every minute at the job. It is your job to keep an eye on the safety system and monitor wind speed. The weighing capacity of the crane changes with the distance to the load. Therefore, you should be able to evaluate the safe limits of the system. The operator should also be able to understand human behavior to predict the people on the ground. So, whenever you search crane service near memake sure the provider and crew have the requirements as mentioned earlier and skills.

What Dangers And Risks Are Involved In Tower Crane Operations? 

Crane operator is not a glossy job of moving sticks and pressing buttons with watching incredible city views. There are often ugly scenarios you will be facing during the tasks. If you have height phobia, forget about the tower crane operator job, and look somewhere else. Heights are not the only danger attached to this job. Working above hundreds of feet above ground in a swinging cabin is like working on the water. After the hours-long shifts, you will feel wobbly. High wind is the enemy operators encounter daily. They are swinging the cabin string enough that the operator must climb down. Due to their height, the tower cranes are vulnerable to lightning strikes. However, today these machines are built with safety mechanisms to protect the operators and pass the charge.

Working Conditions

The standard working hour for a crane operates 40 a week distributed in 5 days and 8 hours per day. The shifts are dividing into two categories that are peak periods and slow periods. In this job, you must work outdoors and in noisy conditions. You will be traveling a lot from one site to the following construction site. Sometimes you have to stay away from home for a long time, depending upon the project. But today, this job is safer than ever. Due to tight regulations, better training, and design improvements, operating a construction crane has never been safer. Compared to other categories of workers in the construction business, crane operator salaries are reasonably higher.

Working as a crane operator is an incredibly rewarding job! The ability to interact on a wide range of construction crane and residential projects. You’ll get to see many unique design ideas and creative architectural solutions

Danny Matranga

Danny Matranga

Danny has been in the crane industry for well over 22 years.. He enjoys racing dwarf cars and wake surfing.

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