A crane operator uses specialized equipment to move and place large and heavy materials vertically and horizontally. Most crane operators are employed in the construction, mining or shipping industries and typically work with materials such as beams, trusses, excavated earth and shipping containers.
When you are writing your crane operator job description, it’s important to focus on proper training and adequate work experience with hoists, cranes, lifts and other relevant equipment. Your state or city may also require that crane operators have a specific license. Most operators learn primarily through on-the-job training rather than formal education.
Other important skills for heavy machinery operators include alertness, hand-eye coordination, attention to detail and ability to follow instructions closely. Look through the crane operator job description below to see what other information you should include in your listing.
Crane Operator Job Summary
Do you enjoy working outdoors and want a fast-paced, hands-on career with plenty of room for professional growth and advancement? We are looking for the right crane operator to join our team of dedicated professionals and support construction site operations by working with a variety of equipment. You will be an integral part of every project and get a chance to improve your working knowledge of machinery and standard construction site practices, as well as move up to advanced positions commensurate with your continued training and work performance. We value our team members and rely on your self-motivation, responsibility and compliance with safety standards, so we reward exceptional work with competitive pay and benefits.
- Operate a variety of material-moving equipment daily according to schedule and instructions from project manager, choosing and setting up the right crane, lift or hoist to complete each task safely and efficiently
- Inspect machines and equipment daily, perform routine maintenance procedures and minor repairs as required and initiate additional repair requests from mechanics when necessary
- Control cranes, lifts and other equipment using standard operating procedures to ensure effective transportation of materials and safety for all personnel on site
- Create and update detailed log of material transportation operations, including information about type of material, movement locations and additional data requested by project manager
- Listen to site manager’s plan prior to start of every shift, and complete all required tasks accurately and within assigned deadlines with limited supervision
- Maintain visual and radio contact with ground operators according to best practices and site safety regulations, and respond to questions and instructions clearly and quickly
- Provide additional support to other crane operators as necessary, including working overtime to complete tasks, operating several types of equipment and training or monitoring junior operators
Job Skills & Qualifications
- High school diploma plus minimum of 4 years of experience in crane operation
- Experience working with lift trucks, overhead cranes and mobile cranes
- Commercial driver’s license
- Flexibility to work overtime when necessary
- Excellent coordination, focus and dedication to following safety protocols
- Professional crane operator certification
Crane Operator Job Responsibilities
The explanation of job responsibilities is the most critical part of your crane operator job description. A tight, informative and easy-to-absorb set of crane operator job responsibilities can entice higher quality candidates and prevent under- and overqualified jobseekers from cluttering your inbox. Keep it as short as possible while being sure to include all core tasks; 6-8 bullet points is a good quantity to aim for.
You’ll want to emphasize any specialized tasks that may differ from crane operator positions with other companies. Crane operation in a shipyard vs. a construction site can require different skills and experience, so it’s a good idea to mention the context of the work in one of your top two bullets. Be sure to list other equipment the new hire will use in the course of his or her duties as well; you may even want to specify the type of crane (truck mounted, tower, sidelifter, mobile, telescopic, etc.) so as to weed out applicants who don’t have the right type of experience.
The following examples may help get you thinking about what you want to include in your own crane operator job description:
- Operate heavy equipment including crane, forklift, skid loader and on-site vehicles
- Follow all safety protocols and standards
- Log inspections and maintain log files
- Regularly inspect assigned equipment and perform maintenance as needed
- Perform other tasks, including some heavy lifting and manual labor when requested
Crane Operator Job Specifications
The skills and qualifications section within a crane operator job description may seem easy to throw together, but it’s recommended that you spend a little time refining your thoughts before finalizing them. After consideration and conferring with invested parties, you may discover that some of your intended minimum requirements may be too high, which can lower the number of applications. You may also want to add desired skills you hadn’t thought of — for example, second languages, experience in lead positions or experience operating other equipment such as scissor lifts or skid loaders.
You’ll want to divide your crane operator job specifications into two lists: required (such as one year of experience operating cranes in a factory environment) and preferred (such as demonstrated ability to act as lead on a construction site). Try to limit each set of specifications at 4-6 bullet points. You don’t want to overwhelm jobseekers with bloated lists.
Keep these best practices in mind when writing your crane operator job description, and read on for example specifications:
- Class B Commercial Driver’s License
- High school diploma or GED
- Current NCCCO Certification for Hydraulic Rough Terrain Cranes up to 100 tons
- Physically able to climb equipment safely and lift/carry 50 pound loads
- Preferred 1 years’ experience driving barge