Tower crane operators are specialists in the construction industry who operate a specific piece of heavy machinery that lifts, transports and moves construction equipment and materials all over their construction site. These materials are needed to build concrete foundations, floors, walls, decks, roofs and other parts of high-rise buildings and other multistory structures. Tower crane operators must adhere to established load limits for their crane, control crane movement as instructed by their supervisors or signalers, and understand specific hand signals and/or instructions given to them via radio. They must also be able to operate crane using remote controls or remote consoles, as well as ensure their cranes are regularly inspected to promote safe use.
Other tasks performed by tower crane operators include ensuring that their cranes meet industry standards, are thoroughly inspected on a regular basis and
have load capacities that are properly rated by the equipment manufacturers or qualified engineers. Tower crane engineers must be familiar with rated load capacities that are marked on each side of the crane; for cranes that have more than one hoist, they must follow individual load ratings. Because their job involves heavy equipment, tower crane operators must follow all safety standards closely and pay close attention to detail. Their work hours vary depending on the weather, but they generally work during daylight hours and based on deadlines.
Most employers require that tower crane operator have completed relevant trade school training and possess commensurate work experience. Many employers require that their operators possess National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) tower crane certification. Possessing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour training program may be beneficial. Tower crane operators must be able to complete the physical requirements of their position, which include stooping, crouching, bending and using manual dexterity to operate controls.
Tower Crane Operator Tasks
- Steer the crane utilizing levers within the control console or remotely via a remote console.
- Base crane movements upon hand and radio signals from ground supervisor or signaler.
- Operate tower crane to move large and heavy objects such as construction materials and shipping containers.