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Job Description of a Crane Rigger

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Using cranes, riggers and operators lift and transport large and heavy loads, such as equipment or construction materials. They must be able to do so without damaging the load they’re moving, property or personnel. Crane riggers operate under strict quality, safety, environmental and health regulations and policies.

Primary Responsibilities

Crane riggers must know how to fasten loads in order to meet company and federal rules, regulations, policies and procedures. An employer will require you to understand how to set up and operate the equipment. You must also know how to choose, attach and use appropriate cables, pulleys, winches, blocks and sheaves, wires, straps and chains. Crane riggers must also test equipment prior to use.

Secondary Responsibilities

You may need to oversee or direct crane operators, if you work for a company that requires operators to do the actual hoisting and moving. Crane riggers may need to complete paperwork at the end of a shift, documenting work completed and any problems encountered. You’re also responsible for dismantling, cleaning and storing equipment after use.

Education and Experience

You need a high school diploma or GED to qualify for most crane rigger jobs. You’ll need to complete training to learn how to work as a crane rigger. Some of these training programs have an apprenticeship component. Some employers also require their crane riggers to have specialized training and be familiar with Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, guidelines. Most employers also require their crane riggers to have between one and two years of previous experience. Depending on the company, you may also need industry-specific experience. For example, if you’ll be moving oil drilling rigs, an employer may require you to have oil and gas field experience.

Licensure, Certification and Tests

Crane riggers must have a commercial driver’s license, or CDL. Some employers also prefer their crane riggers to be certified to work as a crane operator. You can earn certification by passing a written exam, such as the one that The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators, or NCCCO, offers. Some employers also require crane riggers to pass a drug test and background check and also pass a standard vision exam and basic medical exam.


Inherent in the job is knowing how to properly and safely use rigging equipment and how to operate cranes. Employers, however, will require you to have other skills as well. Riggers must have impeccable communication skills, be able to work well with others, have strong mechanical aptitude ability and understand how to use basic Microsoft Office applications such as Microsoft Word. Having basic math skills and good judgment can help you succeed, as can knowing how to identify and solve problems.


William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

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