Training is Everything
When trying to pass a crane certification the candidate who goes into the test room with the advantage of having been through professional training has an extremely substantial advantage. NACC offers training that plays a critical role in raising operator proficiency.
Whether your instructor is in-house or brought in from outside, one of the first things he is going to have to decide is: How much training? For economic reasons, there’s going to be a temptation to try to cram in as much material in as short a time as possible. That may not always be the best decision for the candidate, nor the best investment of your training budget.
Some employers have learned the hard the way that only by carefully establishing the proficiency level of their operators prior to training do they really know how much instruction may be necessary. As an example, before you can expect an operator to accurately read and interpret a mobile crane load chart, he clearly needs to be able to read. Make no assumptions! Learning difficulties are more commonplace than you might expect. A simple pre-training test can provide useful insight into an operator’s basic linguistic and comprehension skills, as well as his or her knowledge about crane operations.
Employers often ask: What areas do candidates fail on the most? Well, as far as the mobile crane written exams are concerned there is only one: load charts. Knowledgeable crane experts all agree: there is no more misunderstood or ignored aspect of mobile crane operations than the crane’s load chart, yet without a thorough understanding of a mobile crane’s load chart, an operator cannot have an accurate picture of either its capabilities or its limitations.
Pre-tests will allow an operator to discover for him- or herself the limitations of his knowledge, to gain respect for the training process, and to realize the personal benefit that his or her full participation can bring. After all, what better way to give crane operators the recognition and respect befitting a skilled occupation than through professional certification? Pre-tests can also help to build confidence while at the same time defusing the anxiety of examinations that many people harbor from their school days; reports from several test site coordinators and instructors point to the benefit of having students overcome this fear by repeated test-taking during training.
Incorporating training into existing work schedules with the minimum of disruption can be a challenge. Some employers find that, short of shutting their company down for a week or more, their work schedules simply rule outputting all of their operators through crane school at one time. Others, with access to more flexible programs, have been able to organize after-hours or weekend sessions of an hour or two a couple of times a week over a couple of months. Not only does this have the least impact on work schedules, but it provides for a more measured approach to training. Operators can take the information they acquired one day and put it straight to work at the job site the next. Experts agree: there’s simply no better method of reinforcing learning than putting new found knowledge into practice. Moreover, slower learners can use the periods between training sessions to work on their particular areas of weakness.
The decision on whether or not to train your employees is one that OSHA, industry standards, and just plain good sense have already made for you as an employer. How to provide that training, however, requires a careful evaluation of your company’s resources and a thorough review of the options available, along with recognition of some of the “human factors” and logistical issues that training brings. It is not a process you should rush; the safety of your employees and those they work with, not to mention the general public, will likely depend on it.