Crane hoist or lift operator

What they do

Crane operators use cranes to lift and move heavy objects at locations such as construction sites, large-scale manufacturing operations, mine sites, wharves and other work sites. When setting up at a site, crane operators must check the condition of the ground, ensuring that it is firm and level, and for any potential obstacles, such as overhead powerlines. They must also be aware of the safe working limits of their crane, to ensure that loads are not too heavy and that the crane's reach is not over-extended. Crane operators often work closely with doggers, observing and following their directions to guide loads into position.

Specialisations include: Chairlift Operator, Cherry Picker Operator, Elevated Work Platform Operator, Pile Driver, Portainer Operator, Tower Crane Operator, Winch Operator

Working conditions

Crane operators work at construction sites, warehouses, wharves, mine sites and manufacturing operations throughout Western Australia. They work in most weather conditions, except high wind and heavy rain, though they often operate the crane from within an enclosed cabin. Many crane operators work irregular hours, which can often include working nights and on weekends. This work can be hazardous and crane operators will have to follow strict safety guidelines to minimise the risks.

Tools and technologies

Crane operators may work with a range of different types of cranes, such as tower cranes, gantry cranes or mobile cranes, depending on the requirements of each job. Two-way or CB radios are often used to communicate with doggers and other workers on the site. Safety requirements often require crane operators to wear protective clothing, which can include a hardhat, overalls, high-visibility clothing and boots.

How do I become one?

Education and training

You can also complete a traineeship. The mobile crane operator traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a crane, hoist or lift operator in Western Australia, you must obtain a High Risk Work Licence for the specific class of crane you wish to operate, issued by WorkSafe.

In order to be issued a High Risk Work Licence, you must be at least 18 years old and complete a training course for the class of crane you wish to operate, conducted by TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”). In Western Australia, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by WorkSafe.