Mobile crane operators operate mobile cranes to lift, move, position and place materials and equipment. They perform pre-operational inspections. They calculate crane capacities and determine load weight, set up and dismantle cranes and position and stabilize the crane before the lift. They may also participate in rigging procedures. They also perform some routine maintenance and housekeeping of the crane equipment such as lubricating and cleaning.
Mobile cranes are used in many industry sectors. They are very commonly used in the construction of buildings and the assembly of large equipment. They are used on construction sites, warehouses, factories, mines, oil rigs, refineries, railway yards, ships and ports. Mobile crane operators may be employed by rental companies, construction firms, manufacturers, public utilities, transport sector companies, ship builders, cargo-handlers, airports, railways and mines.
Cranes come in different types such as crawlers, truck-mounted, rough-terrain and all-terrain. The boom of the crane may be lattice or hydraulic. Some cranes are fitted with equipment that can perform specialized functions including piledriver, clamshell, dragline, wrecking ball, magnet, heavy lift attachments, tower attachments and luffing jibs.
Some mobile crane operators specialize in different crane functions. In some cases, an operator may work for years on a single large site, operating a single type and size of crane. Operators working for rental companies may rarely work on the same site more than once and may routinely perform a variety of tasks with different types and sizes of cranes.
The majority of the work in this trade is outdoors. Key attributes for people entering the trade are strong communication skills, mechanical aptitude, mathematical ability, excellent visual and depth perception and a high degree of hand-foot-eye coordination. The operation of some cranes is physically demanding as is the handling of accessories.
Mobile crane operators interact with other tradespeople, contractors and customers. The skills of mobile crane operators are transferable to operating other heavy equipment. With experience, operators may move into careers such as business owners, supervisors, trainers and job coordinators.
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