Should crane operators be required to be trained and certified? By all means! There are specific requirements that distinguish crane operators from conventional drivers and other heavy equipment operators serving in any workplace.
The physical and mental demands of the job, plus the stringency that goes with a commendable onsite performance of a crane operator should be compelling enough for them to undergo intensive and rigorous training and be certified as such upon completion of the requirements.
As it has been said, crane operating doesn't start and end with simple pedal pushing and lever pulling. Before a crane operator wannabe can even get to that level, he must first pass the physical examination, apprenticeships, and then the certification tests.
Just like in any other profession, there are regulatory agencies mandated to uphold and enforce the rules of the game. There are laws and restrictions imposed on both certified and noncertified operators. And justifiably so.
The complexity of the job puts the operator himself and those around him at risk of any unforeseen hazards in the workplace. In the event of one, the operator has been trained to deal with such situations. Everyone must be safe in the workplace. It's imperative that everyone is safe. Hence, the imposition of safety protocols. To sum it up, crane operators need to be trained and certified.
There's a high demand for good crane operators nowadays. And to qualify for this position and secure a job as a crane operator, applicants are required to undergo training and pass a certification exam. The framework of these had been laid down and overseen by OSHA and the NCCCO. To guarantee that every crane operator meets the prerequisites of the profession.
There are crane operators in many industries such as construction, warehousing, shipping, manufacturing, et al - where lifting, hoisting and transferring/moving of objects/merchandise make up the core of their businesses.
Knowing the essentials on how to get certified should be a priority for anyone who wants to get into this job as a crane operator.
The Nature of Work is Demanding Hence Physical Exam is Required
For one tough job, a crane operator must pass a physical examination so he can go ahead with the certification tests and do the job. The traditional physical examination aims to confirm the state of his total physical and mental well-being befitting of the job. No seizures or any medical condition whatsoever that might affect his performance while on duty.
Also, he will be required to pass a drug test. This can be done randomly at any given time as required by the employer. Even after he has attained certification. Drug testing is mandatory when applying for certification and when applying for a job.
The physical exam procedure has to be repeated every three years.
Passing the Written Exam
The written exam is divided into two segments. The first exam will determine the candidate's proficiency in operating a crane - how the crane works, hand signals, crane hazards, and more.
The second examination gauges the individual's awareness of a specific type of crane - the type he'd likely be using in his job as a crane operator. This last segment asks detailed questions to the candidate to make sure he's knowledgeable enough to safely operate that specific crane.
It's to his advantage if a crane operator decides to take multiple different specialization exams (on the last segment of the written exam) for him to get certified on running different types of cranes. The more specialization exams he passes equates to the number of different cranes he can safely operate.
Passing of Practical Exam
Lastly, the crane operator has to again take and pass an operational test that is supervised by a licensed trainer. In this part of the test, he has to perform numerous assigned tasks on an actual crane to demonstrate his proficiency in running the specific machine.
The Following are Some of the Things You Should Be Aware Of
- Crane operator requirements in construction have been finalized by OSHA. All crane operators working in construction must be certified by an accredited testing body (such as NCCCO) starting November 10, 2018. And must be recertified every five (5) years. Operators of derricks, or equipment with a lifting capacity of 2,000 of less are not required.
- Certification Can Be by Type Alone. A lot of confusion has been ongoing in the past whether the operator has to be certified by type or capacity. Now OSHA has made it clear that certification can be done by type alone.
- It is the employer’s responsibility to evaluate their crane operators. The employer is also responsible for covering the cost. Operator certification can be done through one of these: accredited testing institutions, employer-sponsored programs, or state licensing.
Both Experience and Certification are Needed to Become a Crane Operator
A crane operator must have strong hand-to-eye coordination, quick reaction/response, the ability to think critically and be able to make judgment calls if so warranted.
He should be results-oriented, must possess a keen attention to detail. Disciplined enough to sit in the confines of his control booth for as long as necessary. He should be physically agile to access his control booths, manual dexterity needed for repairs, and maintenance of his assigned crane.
The educational requirements for crane operators can be: a high school diploma will suffice if augmented with the NCCCO certification and, training or apprenticeship certificates.
Once certified, most of them get actual work experience from on-the-job training or apprenticeships. Although some get hired without getting certified yet. And they're called "operators-in-training." All crane operators, in general, must be 18 years or older, equipped with at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. And lastly, must be at the peak of physical and mental state.
The NCCCO continues to be an indispensable element in crane operator training. Most states use the NCCCO administered exams as the focal point to getting certified. Meaning, if you pass that exam, you're a step closer to getting a state-issued license as required by some states.
While a high school diploma and certification(s) from NCCCO and various pieces of training and apprenticeship programs will serve, a college degree in engineering and other related courses may help you get employed in top-notch industries that pay crane operators more than the average.
To Make a Conclusion
A crane operator plays an integral part in any construction company. And they're almost in any place imaginable - where lifting, moving, hoisting, etc. could be of use to their kind of trade. Without these heavy equipment crane operators, urban development wouldn't have been possible. It can't prosper. There'll be no skyscrapers and iconic landmarks that decorate a place's skyline.
No one can become a good crane operator without a distinct set of skills acquired from intensive hands-on training and years of experience. Not to mention the physical examination to assure that any certified crane operator is physically fit for the job. That's aside from the written exams utilized to enhance their capabilities and their understanding of the rigors and demands of this profession.
Crane operating isn't just about pushing pedals and pulling levers. It's also about communicating well and coordinating with the other members of the crew, where their services are needed.
Crane operators must be proficient in troubleshooting, and maintenance of their types of equipment. They should be able to operate their cranes, in accordance with the site's safety protocols, with the rules and regulations that cover their job description.