CO crane operator licence – licence to operate crane of capacity greater than 100t – is often referred to as open crane ticket.
Holder of open crane ticket is entitled to operate any slewing mobile crane of any capacity. That means Hydraulic mobile truck mounted cranes with hydraulic or lattice construction type boom or any type crawler crane. Open crane ticket does not include other types of cranes which have their own classes like tower cranes, gantry cranes etc.
In order to obtain open crane ticket, one doesn’t have to hold any other crane ticket or any HRWL at all. It is recommended to get dogging licence first and do some dogging work, in order to get good knowledge how cranes operate with loads. Regardless if one has open crane ticket or any other lesser class crane licence, as a matter of fact, everybody starts on smaller size crane as a crane operator. Large cranes that fall into open crane ticket category require good skills in operating cranes, so it is common sense to start learning to operate on smaller cranes which are easier to setup, lifting lighter loads and lifting at lesser radius and heights.
There is a real danger lurking upon open crane ticket holder who doesn’t have enough experience in operating large cranes while employed for an employer who does have large crane as the employer might have impression that the open crane ticket holder is capable of operating safely given large crane and in this case the open crane ticket holder does not have the necessary skills and experience to do so. Our open crane ticket licensee might feel that he might lose his job if he admits that he actually is not capable to operate large crane for which he holds open crane ticket without some training on the actual machine, so he might take on the crane operating task anyway and for reason of lack of knowledge and experience endanger himself and other while operating the crane for which he is licensed as open crane ticket holder.
Employers have the responsibility to provide training for all their employees but it requires a fair bit of time and effort and is a costly exercise to train an open crane ticket licensed person to operate large capacity crane.
Cranes of larger capacity, especially slewing mobile cranes, require great deal of knowledge and skills in order to be able to drive them safely on public roads, setup and operate safely, pack up after work is done and transport to another job or back to crane base.
Luffing fly extension and superlifts are some of the additional things that the open crane ticket holder has to be able to tackle with great precision and in timely manner. Those things are not easily done as there is a lot involved and crane operator is required to act as a leader of the whole crew in setup and rigging procedures of large crane.
Setting up superlift, luffing fly or combination of both on a large crane is sometimes a real challenge and open crane ticket holder needs to be able to execute every bit of the task blindfolded, leading his crew and making sure every little task is done in correct order and the safe way, following manufacturer’s instructions and any additional workplace rules and procedures.
There are often other machinery involved in setting up large crane, as a open crane ticket holder in charge of setup one must be able to coordinate delivery of crane parts, coordinating riggers and dogmen, moving the crane boom and winches as required, etc.
In conclusion, open crane ticket is only a licence to become a great crane operator, it doesn’t automatically make you one.