Who can operate a crane?

Living the high-life!

Up-high, in charge and getting it done. A career in crane operation can be an interesting and exciting job since cranes can be found all over the world in a number of environments including shipyards, construction sites, mines, warehouses and more. Let’s take a look at who can operate a crane and the necessary qualifications that are required.

In order to operate a crane legally, you must obtain a crane licence due to the inherent hazards of operating a crane without adequate training. You must get a High-Risk Work (HRW) licence after receiving the appropriate RTO training for the crane you want to operate. When deciding if certification is appropriate for you, consider the type of workplace in which you would ideally like to work and the equipment that would best match those settings.

Below is a list of the 7 different crane classes & licenses to select from:

  • Vehicle loading crane with a capacity of 10 metre tonnes or more (CV License)
  • Non-slewing mobile crane with a capacity exceeding 3 tonnes (CN License)
  • Reach stacker (RS License)
  • Slewing mobile crane with a capacity over 100 tonnes (CO License)
  • Slewing mobile crane with a capacity of 100 tonnes or less (C1 License)
  • Slewing mobile crane with a capacity of 60 tonnes or less (C6 License)
  • Slewing mobile crane with a capacity of 20 tonnes or less (C2 License)

What does a crane operator do?

Once you have obtained the necessary crane ticket, you will be placed in a position of great responsibility and demand. The following duties are associated with responsible crane operation:

  • Lifting and placing big or difficult things with your specialised crane class
  • Conduct equipment inspections and maintenance as needed.
  • Prior to erecting the crane, evaluate the ground and wind conditions.
  • Ensure that the appropriate steel plates or timber footings are securely installed beneath the crane outrigger pads.
  • Position the crane precisely before attaching weights, shackles, chains, and slings for safe lifts.
  • Examine and monitor cabin gauges to verify loads stay within the machine’s limitations.
  • For safe load placement, communicate with the ground team and follow their indications.

How do you obtain a crane licence?

According to Safework Australia, before applying for a national licence to perform high-risk work in crane operations, a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) must first assess your training, skills, and knowledge under realistic working conditions in accordance with the relevant national “assessment instrument.” These RTOs may be found in all Australian states and territories, and they provide the vocational training required to operate cranes and can assist in acquiring your TLILIC0012A & TLILIC3006A Licence.

What qualifications do I need to be a crane operator?

In order to be fully recognised as a crane operator, you may need to earn some additional significant accreditations before applying for your HRW licence. Please bear in mind that accreditations vary based on the area and the crane class for which you wish to be certified, thus it is recommended that you contact the relevant regulatory organisation in your region. Additional accreditations are available, and they are as follows:

  • Working at heights accreditation (via Safe Work Australia)
  • Intermediate rigging accreditation (via Safe Work Australia)
  • Dogging licence (via Safe Work Australia)
  • White Card to enter construction sites anywhere in Australia (via RTOs)
  • Heavy Combination (HC) and Heavy Rigid (HR) truck licences (check with your local traffic authority for more information)
  • If you are seeking a trade outcome in mobile crane operations, you can undertake a Certificate III in Construction Crane Operations. The course contains content that strongly centres on safety and prepares you to work in the commercial and residential construction industry.

How much does it cost to obtain a crane licence?

Once the requisite RTO evaluation has been completed, obtaining a new HRW licence is quite inexpensive:

  • New South Wales: $74 (although currently at $0 until April 2021 as part of NSW government stimulus package)
  • Victoria: $66.60
  • Queensland: $96.80
  • Western Australia: $100
  • South Australia: $83.50
  • Tasmania: $71.28 (1-3 classes), $84.24 (3+ classes)
  • Northern Territory: $76

Completing courses through a certified RTO is the most expensive aspect of crane operator training. These are frequently high-risk licencing packed courses that cost approximately $1400 for a dogging accreditation or $1500 for a rigging certification.

So if you’re an unlicensed punter thinking about hiring a crane to lift that jacuzzi to that second storey balcony there’s a little bit more involved and you should reach out to a professional crane operator or get ready to study up!

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