From Field Ops to Trainer
I am a product training manager and industry advisor at a company that makes wireless, battery-powered below-the-hook load controllers for cranes.
My path to this exciting job has included several field operation roles, including truck driver, dispatcher, and crane operator.
That field experience helps me connect with the people I train and has shaped my approach to teaching.
Here are a few key lessons I’ve learned along the way.
“What is it like going from working in field operations to training?”
As a crane operator, I was responsible for the crane, the crew, and anyone directly or indirectly involved in the crane operation.
As an operator, you may be found liable if there’s an incident, as you were in direct control.
Above that, you recognize you must forever live with any consequences of your actions behind the controls.
One mistake could easily result in the injury or death of someone on your site.
You learn to embrace that responsibility and keep complacency out of the equation.
The first day you start your career in the crane and rigging industry, you discover who your mentors are.
They are the people slapping your hands away from pinch points between counterweights to keep you from being crushed.
Success in this industry takes a good attitude and the ability to listen and learn.
Transitioning Your Mentality to “Instructor”
As I became an instructor, I began preparing by looking back at my first six months in the industry.
I reviewed and evaluated every new situation and skill I took on throughout my career to help shape how I want to be as an instructor to see what more I could learn from them.
That included situations where past instructors and mentors had prevented me from getting hurt or killed.
It also included developing organizational skills and fine-tuning my precision both at crane controls and while rigging during crane assembly and dis-
I believe in taking the right amount of pride in high-quality work, and in setting and keeping the highest standards.
As an instructor, you take on the added responsibility of teaching new skills, mentality, mindset, and attitude.
Leading students to success takes that focus.
It enables you to help prepare them for as many variables as possible.
The Pass-It-On Concept Doesn’t Stop on the Last Day of Class.
Ask a crane operator or rigger who’s about to retire whether he or she has learned everything there is to know in the industry.
They’ll certainly answer, “no.”
We recognize that continual learning is one key to avoiding complacency and to grow in our career.
Continuing to learn helps keep us safe and keeps us relevant.
The day you walk out of your first crane or rigging class, you’re not done learning.
As an instructor, I continue to be available to my students forever.
I want them to succeed, and I gratefully remember the predecessors and mentors who continue to help me succeed in my career.
Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
This is the pass-it-on concept.
I encourage all instructors to embrace it.
For me, nothing tops seeing someone succeed at their goals and dreams.
New Tech Makes Teaching and Operating Safer.
We are regularly seeing innovative technology enter the crane and rigging industry.
For example, companies like Humulo, ForgeFx, Serious Labs, CM Labs Simulations, and Industrial Training International (ITI) are creating products that use augmented reality, virtual reality, simulators, and other new teaching technologies.
This tech brings a new ability for instructors to train crane operators and riggers in safe but realistic situations anywhere.
In technology for safer operation, camera systems help operators see all around a crane like never before, and advanced control systems help keep operators within a crane’s intended limits.
One of the newest devices that helps make crane operation safer is a semi-autonomous, propulsion-driven, below-the-hook rigging device known as the Vita Load Navigator.
Created by Vita Inclinata Technologies, it lets crane operators and riggers precisely control a load and make lifts more efficiently while minimizing or eliminating the need for taglines.
Reducing the use of taglines makes operating safer by reducing the need for workers to be near the load and the accompanying need to maneuver around obstacles while holding a tagline.
This month, Wolffkran is introducing an electronic assistance system that prevents load sway.
They’re introducing it on the new Wolff 6523 Clear tower crane.
This technology also helps increase load control, safety, and efficiency.
Every new technological innovation requires adjustments in training and familiarization.
As crane and rigging instructors, we must stay up to date with the latest advancements and make sure our students are prepared to make the most of them.
Caleb Rosenberger is Product training manager and industry advisor for Vita Inclinata. Rosenberger has seven years’ experience in the crane, construction, and energy industries with companies that include Vita Industrial, Mammoet, ML Crane, RMS.