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Crane Operator Helps Rescue Woman From Dam

Crane operator training can put you into a career that has many interesting tasks. We wrote a post late last month titled Mobile Cranes Are Always Ready To Come To The Rescue and a report in the Des Moines Register is a classic example of what we had written. Cranes do get used in the most unusual situations including performing rescues.

According to the report, the crane operator needed to lower a fellow construction worker into a dam to rescue an elderly woman from the swirling waters. Once the woman was secured she was then lifted to a nearby boat where she was taken to hospital.

This all sounds fine and you may think there is nothing special about the task. Putting aside the fact that a woman was saved from drowning – let’s look at the task itself. In most tasks like this the crane operator is operating almost blind. Once the crane’s hook goes over the side of the embankment, he cannot see where it is going. His eyes are the eyes that are on the ground looking over the edge – in other words, his fellow workmates. He relies on signals from his workmates for directions.

Again, you may think this is standard – and it is. That is why crane operators undertake training. One component is of course actually operating the crane. Other components include interpreting signals from those on the ground. By the way, it is always useful for those on the ground to undertake training on how to send those signals to the crane operator.

The crane operator and the person giving the signals need to work as close team. You may think the signaler signals stop, and the crane stops – it is not as simple as that. The person on the ground has to be able to read the situation and make signals an instant or two before the action is required. There is always a delay between giving a signal, the operator interpreting that signal and then acting on it. This is why you will often find that crane operators and signalers work as teams on construction jobs. Where the crane and operator goes, so too does the signaler – good teams are hard to find.

If your crane operator training is solid and thoroughly covers the basics then performing a rescue like this become second nature. In fact, a well trained novice crane operator could have pulled it off – all because of the interaction between those on the ground the operator. The rescue story quite rightly focused on the construction worker who was brave enough to hang onto the hook and allow himself to be lowered into the dam. It still took a team to get him there though. You can read the Des Moines Register story here.

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