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Mobile Cranes Are Definitely Not Toys

You can see mobile cranes traveling the highways all the time and some of them really do look like toys – just bigger than ones we had as children. A casual inspection would leave one with the feeling that anyone could operate a mobile crane.

If you think about, what is there to learn? The crane is mobile and sits on the back of a truck so a truck license would be necessary. Otherwise, there must be a lever to raise and lower the hook; another lever to extend or retract the boom; and pedals to turn the crane. Too easy surely? Lower the hook, attach the load; raise the load; swing around to where you want the load placed and lower it back to ground.

I am not trying to be flippant either. In a nutshell, that is the basics of operating a crane. Of course, if the load is a little heavy then you may just tip the crane on its side. If you don’t quite raise the load high enough you might take the top of the truck, or someone’s head.

The reality is that mobile cranes are not difficult to operate. The skills that do need to be developed are not those related to pushing levers or pedals. What is important is knowing how to set up the crane for safe use. How to handle loads safely and how to counter or work around environmental factors. Anyone can raise and lower a hook but I challenge anyone to lift a load and place it perfectly at its destination, first time, every time.

Mobile cranes may look like toys and may seem easy to operate. A highly skilled operator can work in confined areas perfectly judging distances irrespective of any environmental factors (wind for example), and place a load exactly where it is required.

Watch a crane operator lowering a large steel girder into place – the girder is a deadly weapon in itself – yet the operator can perfectly place the girder so that ground crews can fix it into place. That requires a lot of skill and that skill is based on the mobile crane operator training they received at the start of their career. Mobile cranes – they are not toys, they are precision tools that help build our nation.

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