Career Path and Overview: A Guide to Crane Engineers
If you prefer to work more hands on than be stuck behind a computer, have good spatial awareness and are able to work well in a team, then being a crane engineer could be the job for you. With the size of the modern industrial sector and the scale of projects that can be achieved, cranes are an essential piece of equipment. As such, it is essential that we have people understand how cranes work on a detailed and fundamental level.
In this guide, we’ll give you an overview of what is required of a crane engineer, including daily tasks and responsibilities that can be expected of them, along with the skills and qualifications that are required to be a crane engineer and how to both start and progress your career towards becoming one. Read on below to get stuck in.
From Crane Inspections to Maintenance Plans: What Does a Crane Engineer Do?
Crane engineers are responsible for every aspect of a crane’s performance. As a crane engineer, you would be responsible for the general maintenance of any cranes, including planned maintenance, modifications and reactive maintenance in the event that something should go unexpectedly wrong with any cranes.
This requires you to liaise with the operations team, so that you can prioritise breakdown repairs across each piece of lifting equipment, using the necessary and latest fault finding diagnostic techniques and tools in order to minimise the need of reactive maintenance.
All of these plans and maintenance work also involve paperwork and records. Working as a crane engineer, you would need to ensure that you fill in the correct data and information on all and any necessary documents and IT systems, such as daily logs, progress sheets, job reports, test results, safe working loads etc.
On top of that, it is imperative that crane engineers always carry out their work whilst adhering to their company’s health and safety policy, as well as the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations.
Another task that crane engineers may find themselves carrying out is LOLER crane inspections. The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, or LOLER - as they’re more commonly known, stipulate that examinations must be carried out annually (or six months if the cranes are used to lift persons) by a competent person. As a crane engineer, you will have the knowledge and expertise to carry out these inspections as said competent person.
Since these must be unbiased, you would not be testing any cranes at your own company, however if your company offers these inspections to third parties, then you would be able to carry out a LOLER inspection on their cranes on your company’s behalf.
Skills and Qualifications Needed
There are numerous skills that are required in order to be a successful crane engineer. Firstly, it is imperative that you can be an active listener. Crane engineers must give their full attention to other people, making sure they take the time to fully understand the points they are making in relation to what they require or need to be done, and asking questions as appropriate to ensure this.
On top of that, being a crane engineer requires you to be good at critical thinking. You must be able to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems, using your initiative to go forward with the best course of action.
Leading on from this, you should be able work well under pressure and remain calm in stressful situations. This is especially the case when it comes to any reactive maintenance; should something go wrong or a fault occur that is unexpected, then you need to make sure that you can be relied upon to actively approach this with a calm mind and logical thinking, so that the issue can be resolved accordingly. Similarly, you need to be good at decision making and using your best judgement in tricky scenarios that need efficient resolutions.
Multitasking is also a must as a crane engineer. Because you’ll be working in a fast moving operational environment, you need to be able to handle and prioritise multiple tasks at any given time, with effective time management so that each task is completed efficiently and to the best, safest standard without heavily impacting other operations.
Considering that crane engineers regularly perform tests, maintenance and repairs, and must comply with the necessary safety standards and regulations, attention to detail is also essential. Health and safety is vital when it comes to using cranes and lifting heavy equipment, so it’s critical that any repairs, modifications and testing should be completed to the exact standards required, thus reducing the risks of malfunctions and accidents.
Being a crane engineer doesn’t just entail working on cranes from the outside, but can also include operating them. Whether you’re standing in to help out with some crane work or having to operate the crane to test it, you will have working knowledge of how to operate a crane as a crane engineer. With this knowledge, however, you will also need good spatial awareness, since you must always be alert and aware of your surroundings to ensure that you can move the crane safely and without causing damage or injury.
When it comes to crane operating, there aren’t any formal qualifications that you need, however you may need to obtain Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) cards to be able to work on a crane at a construction site.
When it comes to the engineering side of things, however, then more qualifications will be needed. Though the title ‘crane engineer’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘crane operator’, when it comes to actually performing maintenance and repairs on cranes, then this could also come under an operations engineer.
Some employers will require you to be qualified to HNC or Degree level (or equivalent) in an engineering discipline, though if you have plentiful and suitable experience with plant engineering, then this may suffice. Alternatively, you may obtain a Level 2 Certificate or Diploma in college for a relevant course, such as engineering operations or mechanical engineering.
How to Become a Crane Engineer
As well as having the option to study to become a crane engineer, another way to get into this career path is through experience. Experience is highly valued in this job sector, since hands-on involvement with this type of work is one of the best ways to learn and expand both your knowledge and capabilities.
To start with, you could gain some relevant work experience, working weekends and/or holidays with a relevant company who could teach you the ropes and build up your basic understanding of cranes and other plant and lifting machinery. Experience such as this is always received positively by potential employers.
The next best thing you could do is complete an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are great for learning on the job, allowing you to get hands-on experience and the necessary training, as well as having the opportunity to obtain any relevant/required qualifications at the same time.
Crane Testing Services
So, does this sound like it’s up your street? If you’re looking for a job as a crane engineer, operator or electrician, then get in touch with us here at Crane & Lifting services Ltd to see what vacancies we currently have available.
If you are already well-versed in all things crane, but require an impartial third-party to come and load test your cranes, then we also offer crane testing services including LOLER inspections. Using our testing services ensures that your cranes are safe to work with and that you are complying with the necessary regulations.
From crane installations to crane training, we’re the go to company for all things cranes. If you would like to learn more about our services or discuss your requirements and how we can help you, then don’t hesitate to contact us today. We offer our services across the UK; whether you’re in London, Cardiff or anywhere in between, distance is no issue.