1. Thorough pre-operational inspection training. Fully introducing students to a healthy mobile crane and its components is key. If a function or component is deficient, the operator’s success or failure throughout the day may well be dependent on the machine’s condition.
2. Full technical sessions on operating practices and load charts. Expert guidance about the proper methods of usage helps set the stage for students to become highly productive and safe mobile crane operators. The instructor should remind the students that they are responsible to “defend” the crane if asked to perform work, outside of its capacity, based on its configuration. The students should learn to be problem solvers and defenders based on the task at hand.
3. At least 30% of the program is spent with students in the mobile crane’s seat. Nothing beats hands-on crane operator experience and the sensation of handling the crane when it is in an unload and load condition. Crane simulators only tell part of the story, so by gaining crane seat-time under the observation of a skilled trainer is how skills and confidence are gained.
4. Skills evaluation with items noted for improvement by the instructor. Positive reinforcement is very helpful when acquiring new skills. Also, being alerted to areas that need improvement in a positive and supportive manner can mean the difference between a mediocre and a great mobile crane operator. Students need to know, “What needs fixing and how do I fix it?” A professional and competent trainer can analyze the current status and recommend for improvement.
5. Specific training on mobile crane foundation, crane hand signals and communications, and power line issues. The biggest hazards are often those that are invisible. Each student must be encouraged to think beyond the crane, and often be their own best advocate. What’s underneath or within reach of the crane are issues that should be impressed to the operator at all times. Helping a new crane operator understand that people die because of poor communication is show-stopping. They can become a hero by not proceeding when communication breaks down is the sign of a mature person. Students should desire that level of maturity from the first day they sit in the seat of a crane.
ITI, a world leader in crane training and rigging training, divides its Crane Training curriculum into three separate programs:
- Mobile Crane Operator – Initial – For novice operators.
- Mobile Crane Operator – ITI Qualified – For experienced operators.
- Mobile Crane Operator – Nationally-Accredited Certification – To earn Certification.
This article was originally published on The Pro Rigger – Mobile Crane Operator Training – 5 Elements that Should be in Your Next Program.