Crane Operator Safety Tips

At Emerson Cranes, we know that crane safety begins with choosing the right crane for the job. Our Crane Hire Service provides you with the flexibility to choose the perfect crane on a project-to-project basis. It’s our responsibility to ensure that all equipment is safe to use and regularly serviced, maintained and that repairs are carried out when necessary, so you can focus your full attention on equipping your workers with sufficient crane operator training

If you’d like to find out more about our cranes for hire and how we ensure all of our equipment is fit for purpose, please do get in touch on 020 8059 2577, or contact us via email, and one of our expert team members will be happy to chat with you.

Here, we offer our top crane operator safety tips to help you identify potential hazards and create an effective crane operator safety checklist unique to your project. 

What Are the Duties of a Crane Operator?

So, what does a crane operator do? A crane operator’s skills and responsibilities include having extensive knowledge of lever and pedal control, driving cranes to a worksite, setting up the manufacturer’s operator manual and managing and monitoring the safety of the crane on a daily basis. A crane operator is expected to fully comply with crane operator regulations, and should have excellent knowledge of the relevant safety checks necessary for the task at hand. 

Crane Operator Training 

Employers have a legal responsibility to provide appropriate health and safety training to all of their employees. This provides crane operators with the right knowledge and skills to carry out their jobs safely. Crane operator training should include learning about system assessments, operational parameters, hand/light signals and height and system judgement for safe and successful operations. 

Ensuring your crane operators are fully trained will not only increase workplace safety, but also improve employee satisfaction as you reduce injuries, fatalities, accidents and sickness absence. 

Planning Lifting Operations

According to HSE here, there are four key aspects to the role of a crane operator: managing planning and lifting operations, ensuring safe systems of work, supervision of lifting and thorough examination. 

All lifting operations should be planned in advance so they can be carried out safely and all foreseeable risks can be taken into account. The crane operator who has been appointed to plan the lifting operation must have adequate experience and theoretical knowledge of the lift being undertaken. 

The lifting operations plan should consist of risks identified by the assessment, resources required and procedures and responsibilities. 

Crane Operator Safety Checklist 

Adequate risk assessments should be carried out for all crane operations. This includes looking at every step of the process and monitoring potential consequences as well as ways to mitigate the risk. An easy way to do this is by creating a crane operator safety checklist for your site. 

This could include prompts such as check for visible indications of repairs, check the area of operation, check for adequate housekeeping, inspect all rigging equipment and verify operator qualifications and training. Your checklist should be unique to the work carried out by your crane operators and should be updated regularly.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Reducing hazards on your worksite is important, but it’s impossible to make the use of cranes 100% safe. Therefore, all crane operators should always wear the proper PPE to help protect them in the event of an incident. 

All crane operators should be provided with appropriate foot, head and eye protection, along with any other PPE you have identified in your risk assessment. Relevant PPE includes helmets, gloves, goggles, headphones, hi-vis jackets and steel-toed boots. 


Keeping your crane operators well informed about the safety hazards present on site, and what to do when they encounter risks, will maintain everyone’s safety on site. 

Communicate with the crane operators who will be near a crane before, during and after a lift to ensure everyone is aware of their role on site. You should also make sure all of your crane operators are taking regular breaks and are well-rested to ensure they remain alert during crane use. 

Read Operator Manuals 

There’s no denying that even the most qualified crane operators will find reading operator manuals useful. There may be new or unique controls you’re not familiar with, or you might simply need to refresh your memory before a project. 

Regardless, it’s always best to make sure you have a full understanding of the machine you’re working with before operating it. This includes sufficient knowledge of safety mechanisms, controls, load capacity and counterweights & stabilisers. 

If you’d like further guidance on crane safety, get in touch with us on 020 8059 2577 today and one of our expert team members will be happy to provide more information.