Crane and Tower Operators Job Description video

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For passers-by, it seems amazing that any one person can handle the crane towering over a construction site. It appears to have a life of its own—a gigantic creature bending, turning, and lifting materials, machinery, or other heavy objects. But someone is very much in control: crane and tower operators are highly trained construction professionals who have reached the height of the equipment operation ladder…literally! Material-moving equipment operators are classified by the type of equipment they operate, and nothing is more complex or important than the cranes and towers that make big building projects possible. The operator extends or retracts a horizontally mounted boom to lower or raise a hook attached to what’s called the load line. Maneuvers are coordinated in response to hand signals or radioed instructions. Most of the work for operators is not in construction, but manufacturing. They’re especially in demand in metal fabrication, primary metal, and transportation equipment manufacturing industries, where they’re constantly in service moving heavy, bulky materials. Automation is cutting into these jobs, but opportunities do open up as experienced workers retire. These skills are learned on the job, as you move up through the ranks of equipment operation. A sense of balance, good distance judgment, and excellent eye-hand-food coordination are essential. High school graduates with training in automobile and diesel mechanics have the best chances of getting started on operating light equipment first, then moving on to the big stuff. While private vocational schools advertise instruction, and help getting an apprenticeship, it’s a good idea to check out the program’s reputation with local employers before you enroll.

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