Crane operators operate cranes or draglines to lift, move, position or place machinery, equipment and other large objects at construction or industrial sites, ports, railway yards, surface mines and other similar locations. They are employed by construction, industrial, mining, cargo handling and railway companies.

Example titles

  • Boom truck crane operator
  • Bridge crane operator
  • Climbing crane operator
  • Construction crane operator
  • Crane operator
  • Dragline crane operator
  • Gantry crane operator
  • Hoist operator (except underground mining)
  • Mobile crane operator
  • Tower crane operator
  • Tractor crane operator

Inclusions

  • Rigger (except shipbuilding and aircraft assembly)

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate mobile and tower cranes to lift, move, position or place equipment and materials
  • Perform pre-operational inspection, and calculate crane capacities and weight to prepare for rigging and hoisting
  • Operate pile driving cranes to drive pilings into earth to provide support for buildings and other structures
  • Operate cranes equipped with dredging attachments to dredge waterways and other areas
  • Operate gantry cranes to load and unload ship cargo at port side
  • Operate locomotive cranes to move objects and materials at railway yards
  • Operate bridge or overhead cranes to lift, move and place plant machinery and materials
  • Operate offshore oil rig cranes to unload and reload supply vessels
  • Operate cranes mounted on boats or barges to lift, move and place equipment and materials
  • Operate dragline cranes to expose coal seams and ore deposits at open pit mines
  • May assemble tower cranes on site
  • Perform routine maintenance work such as cleaning and lubricating cranes.

Employment requirements

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a one- to three-year apprenticeship program or industry courses in crane operating are usually required.
  • Mobile crane operator trade certification, for specified types of cranes, is compulsory in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia and available, but voluntary, in all other provinces and the Northwest Territories.
  • Tower crane operator trade certification is compulsory in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia and available, but voluntary, in Prince Edward Island.
  • Hoist operator trade certification, for specified types of cranes, is compulsory in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia and is available, but voluntary, in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
  • Mobile crane operators may require a provincial licence to drive mobile cranes on public roads.
  • Internal company certification as a crane operator may be required by some employers.
  • Red Seal endorsement is also available to qualified mobile crane and tower crane operators upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Additional information

  • The Red Seal endorsement allows for interprovincial mobility.
  • Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Exclusions

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