Training in the operator's seat of a crane is a necessary part of becoming a certified crane operator. Before your trainees sit in the seat, simulated environments should be a component of their training. There are several advantages to using simulation training for both trainees and current employees.
For many new trainees, maneuvering large equipment and being responsible for the safety of those around them can be intimidating. Instead of going directly from textbook learning to actually maneuvering a crane, using simulation training as intermediary step can reduce anxiety and make trainees feel more assertive when sitting in the operator's chair. Apprehension is not limited to new trainees. Even seasoned crane operators may feel insecure when being trained on a new type of crane or when there have been upgrades made to modernize your fleet. Increasing confidence in your operators also has the benefit of reducing mistakes and helping training move along at a consistent pace.
Reduce Training Time
Training in a real-world environment has many hurdles. You cannot create an infinite number of scenarios for your operators and will be limited in the number of people you can train at once. In the simulated environment, trainees can move through any number of scenarios with different load configurations within a single training session. The number of trainees that can participate in a training session is only limited to the number of simulators you have available. Since more trainees can be exposed to various simulations at a faster rate, the time spent on real-world training can be significantly reduced. You may want trainees to have unrestricted access to the simulation lab, which means they can have more time to work on training and at their own pace.
Although operators may initially receive training in one type of crane or environment, it benefits each operator to go through training for multiple types of cranes, loads, and environmental conditions. Since this may not be possible if access to various cranes are limited and you cannot manipulate environmental variables, using simulation training is a start. When it is time for operators to receive certification in a new type of crane, it will be easier for them to adapt since they already have limited experience. If your company is contracted for various types of jobs, such as construction or maritime contracts, it is advantageous to have operators with a wider range of skills.
A major concern when operating a crane is both the risk of mechanical failure and maneuvering large objects. With simulation training you can prepare operators for problems they may encounter on the job, even if they are rare. Knowing what you should do in an emergency situation is much different than actually recalling critical information quickly and acting accordingly. Since it can be difficult or impossible to create emergency scenarios during real-world training without creating a dangerous situation, many crane operators only know how to handle problems in theory. Creating unique emergency situations with the simulator can reduce workplace accidents or prevent problems from escalating because they were improperly handled.
Crane simulation is one method you can use to periodically refresh the skills of your operators. Not only can you require operators to enter yearly refresher courses by performing simulated activities, but the simulator may also be useful for new hires. Although you may hire a person who is certified as a crane operator, some people may not have operated a crane in years. As a condition of employment, they should be able to prove their skills in a controlled environment before moving on to using the equipment.
Simulated environments have numerous applications, which include training crane operators. The initial investment of including simulated training will pay for itself in a safer work environment and highly-trained, confident operators. Keep these ideas in mind for your crane operating service.