If you would like to have a career as an overhead crane operator, you will…
One of the more challenging machines in the heavy equipment field has to be a crane. A quick look at one of the job vacancies listed over the weekend gives you an indication of what is expected of a crane operator. Because of the complexities of this type of work, authorities have made it compulsory for crane operators to be certified before they can commence work operating a crane.
The weekend’s crane operator job listing required, in part, an operator:
Will observe load hook-up and determine safety of load using load charts and lift plans. Must be able to judge spaces correctly and handle many controls at the same time. Will initiate lifts, hoists and movements according to written, verbal or signaled instructions.
Whilst that may sound complex, most operators perform these actions day-in and day-out, almost on auto pilot. Of course, the job can’t be done on auto pilot alone when you need to refer to load charts and lift plans. To begin with, you have to have a clear understanding of these charts, how to read them, and how to apply the current situation to those charts.
When it comes to judging spaces, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can learn this aspect of crane operations, even when operating a multitude of controls. Experienced operators do appear to be handling this side of their work on autopilot – and they may well do so. If you drive a car, you soon learn to judge distances and speed – it’s a similar concept when operating a crane.
The key to successfully acquiring the abilities to perform as required in this job ad is through your crane operator training. You should be able graduate from your training with a reasonably good knowledge of load charts, and experience with judging distance and space. It goes without saying that your training includes reading hand signals and other communications devices. As a crane operator, you’re often blind to many aspects of a lift, so you will be relying heavily on those around you to give clear and easy to understand signal.
Crane operator training may teach you how to operate the levers in a crane, however, it is just as important to learn the the non-operational side as well.