Unit Group

7371 Crane operators

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

View all titles

Main duties


Crane operators perform 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
    High school, college or industry courses in crane operating are usually required.
  • Mobile crane operator trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta and available, but voluntary, in all other provinces and the Northwest Territories.
  • Tower crane operator trade certification is compulsory in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba and available, but voluntary, in Prince Edward Island.
  • Mobile crane operator (hydraulic) trade certification is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in Prince Edward Island.
  • Hoist operator trade certification, for specified types of cranes, is compulsory in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta and is available, but voluntary, in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, 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, tower crane and mobile crane (hydraulic) 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.

Classified elsewhere

  • Heavy equipment operators (except crane) (7521)
  • Hoist operators – underground mining (in 8231 Underground production and development miners )
  • Supervisors of crane operators (in 7302 Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews )

Classification Structure - 7