Becoming an operator

Recently, I have been taking advantage and stealing knowledge from our crane operators. I genuinely know about cranes and how they work but I’ve become slightly passionate about learning the details that come with the cranes. It amazes me how much our operators know about their vehicles. To an outsider looking in, it almost seems impossible to know all the details one needs in order to operate safely and keep the crane happy. They need to be washed, greased, and cared for just like any other vehicle or piece of equipment. Our operators have been trained and instructed to understand and learn the ins and outs to all of our cranes, but for the most part, they stay on their assigned crane.
I began to notice that the operators, form a certain bond with their crane. I decided one afternoon to swap my office attire for a pair of coveralls and head outside to be transformed into a “grease monkey’ ( a term operators use for our greasers). I greased the boom, outriggers, and every zerk. I loved it! There is a special techinique to everything. You shouldn’t stand right under the roller unless you want grease in your hair for days, you simply stand off to the side. Also, be generous with the grease but don’t overdo it.
Later on that week I realized whenever I saw “my” crane ( the one I helped grease) I had an odd connection to it. We are much closer than the other cranes. Part of the reason why we become attached to these machines, is because they do so much. They are so incredibly powerful. They are the fundamental part in puting a building together, fixing wind turbines, lifting trusses, and much more. Without the right care and support these cranes can also be dangerous. The technique to operating and learning a crane is something that can’t be done overnight. It takes practice and dedication. I’ve dabbed my toe in the life of a crane operator and now I’m ready to learn more.

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