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What Makes A Good Mobile Crane Operator?

One of the questions that pops up from time to time is: “What makes a good heavy equipment operator?” And then it gets a little more specific and turns into “What makes a good mobile crane operator?”

There’s some overlap, but there are a few differences.

Things Heavy Equipment Operators Need

All big machinery, no matter what it is, needs an operator who knows what is happening around them and isn’t afraid to stop when things get dangerous. Good heavy equipment operators have these qualities:

  • hand/eye coordination
  • certifications from trusted schools
  • respect for the safety rules
  • a feel for their machine’s location and operation
  • an eye on their surroundings
  • knowledge of their machine’s operation
  • rehearsed emergency procedures for instant response

Heavy equipment is hard to stop once it gets going, and everybody is safer when the operator is a professional. But the mobile crane operator has some added factors:

Things Mobile Crane Operators Need To Add

All of the above applies to a mobile crane operator, but the fact that there are additional NCCCO Certified Crane Operator Programs tells you that things get racheted up with the whole overhead-lifting thing. Loads to be hoisted have to be rigged correctly or they’ll fall, and it won’t be pretty. The momentum of a big machine is multiplied when that big machine is swinging a big load around.

Crane operators function as part of a team, and communication is really important. They need the strength to ignore pressure to hoist unsafe loads, even if the boss is giving them a hard time. They need to know what is safe and what is not safe, and it’s a good idea to know why so you can explain your refusal clearly.

Mobile crane operators are heavy equipment operators who have gone into a specialized field and done the training to earn specialized certifications in that field. They have great responsibility and are up to the task.

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