Materials in Motion

Ask Spanco: What’s the Difference Between a Dedicated and Non-Dedicated Crane Operator

We receive a lot of questions about dedicated and non-dedicated crane operators and how their roles and safety concerns differ. While there is not a lot of information online about the topic, the CMAA does provide insight in their Crane Operators Manual (Specification 79-2012), as outlined below.

Workstation bridge cranes, gantry cranes, and jib cranes are used for various purposes, handle various loads, and are operated in many ways by different operators. According to the CMMA ‘…the most notable difference in crane operation involves those cranes that are operated by a dedicated operator and cranes that are operated by a non-dedicated operator.’

Dedicated Crane Operators:

A dedicated crane operator is usually one who controls cab-operated and pulpit-operated cranes. These operators must enter and exit cranes only at authorized locations and designated boarding entrances. These locations should be well maintained, clean, and clear of other materials to maintain a full passageway. And, before leaving the cab or pulpit, the crane operator should always open the crane main line disconnect switch.

Non-Dedicated Crane Operators:

Non-dedicated crane operators are usually in control of floor-operated and remote (pendant) operated cranes—whether manual or motorized. Most workers, as part of the regular daily job duties, operate their cranes as non-dedicated operators. Most of these cranes consist of overhead lift systems, like workstation bridge cranes, gantry cranes, and jib cranes. Non-dedicated operators will often use a pendant station or remote control to move motorized systems under load. This is a perfect solution for dangerous task, like moving loads around melted metal, in precarious or hard-to-reach places, or where the factory floor is busy with other types of equipment, machines, and workers.

Dedicated and Non-Dedicated Operators:

There is one very notable similarity between both dedicated and non-dedicated crane operators: both should be very familiar with their crane controls and fully understand what type of motion will occur once any one of the control devices is activated. These controls must be marked, with all markings clearly legible to all workers. The daily inspection of both crane types—used by dedicated and non-dedicated operators—should always include a thorough check that all travel motions agree with control markings. Furthermore, both types require a daily inspection, which must be performed by the operator or other designated person at the start of each shift or at the time the crane is first used each day.

Due to the fact that crane manufacturers have no direct involvement or control over the operation and application of your crane, conforming to safety practices is the responsibility of the crane owner and operator. Only those Authorized and Designated Personnel who demonstrate that they have read and understand the CMMA operator’s manual and the manufacturer’s maintenance and operation manuals should be permitted to operate the crane. It’s also important that each operator demonstrates a thorough understanding of proper crane operation and maintenance.