what is a hoist operator?

A hoist operator controls hoisting equipment like clamps, elevating platforms and forklifts to move products or people. As a hoist operator, you assist with transporting materials to a worksite or warehouse. You load and unload trucks depending on the hoist you use for the job.

Hoist operators also control movement platforms that carry people around a worksite. For instance, you control the platform that transports workers to vast heights or depths at a construction or mining site. Operating hoists requires great skill to ensure you manoeuvre the load to the right spot. After moving each load, you need to update the log and record the items or workers you moved at a particular time. You also carry out maintenance and repair tasks on hoist equipment.

As a hoist operator, you are likely to work on large scale construction projects like building high rises and major infrastructure projects. You can also find work in quarries, mining sites and manufacturing companies with large warehouses.

Apart from mechanical aptitude, you need physical stamina to work in industrial settings for long hours. Your job also requires concentration when manoeuvring the hoists.

Would working in construction as a hoist operator suit your interest in operating machinery? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a hoist operator role.


hoist operator jobs

hoist operator salary

According to ONS, the median salary of a hoist operator is £27,300 per year or £14 hourly. New hoist operators earn an average pay of £25,204 per year, while experienced hoist operators earn over £31,200 annually.

When you are a hoist operator, you can improve your salary prospects by working overtime for higher hourly rates. Some working conditions also increase your salary due to the risks involved.

Apart from wages, a hoist operator enjoys various benefits like medical and life insurance covers. Some companies provide various allowances like housing and transport to facilitate your job. You also enjoy paid holidays, among other benefits.

how to increase your salary as a hoist operator

As a hoist operator, your salary fluctuates depending on your skills and expertise. That's why your entry-level wages are lower than the compensation package of an experienced worker. Your skills determine the complexity of the jobs you will handle. For instance, a new hoist operator may only be allowed to lift goods in warehouses to a moderate height. In contrast, experienced operators can hoist people to greater heights, as they have the advanced skills to manoeuvre the hoist safely. Some industries also pay hoist operators better than others. For instance, you are likely to earn more working on construction sites than in warehouses.


types of hoist operators

Some of the specialisation options for hoist operators include:

  • dredge operator: you operate equipment or machines that remove rocks and sediments in waterways. Your job is to control the material-moving machines and deepen the waterways to allow the passage of ships and boats.
  • winch operator: you move items to elevated positions using winch drums. You control the movements of the hoists, railcars and winches and reposition them for loading and unloading.
  • crane operator: your job is to lift or move material around a construction site using cranes. You monitor crane stability and work with a banksman to ensure the safe movement of products on a worksite.


working as a hoist operator

As a hoist operator, you move people and equipment to elevated worksites using hoists or cranes. Sometimes you also move materials or heavy objects into trucks or storage areas. Read on to discover more duties and work settings of hoist operators.



education and skills

While hoist operators don't need any formal qualifications, you need some post-secondary skills to succeed in the role. Employers are interested in people with enthusiasm and willingness to learn since most of the training is on the job. If you decide to pursue post-secondary training for the role, attend a specialist college to become a crane operator or hoist operator. Qualifications such as a Level 2 Certification in plant operations boost your career prospects.

You can also start as an apprentice with a construction company. For instance, a lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship allows you to become a crane or hoist operator after years of training on the job and attending coursework with a training provider.

skills and competencies

Key skills of a hoist operator include:

  • alertness: as a hoist operator, you need undivided focus and attention when operating the hoisting equipment. You have to focus on your surroundings to ensure you don't navigate the hoists in the wrong direction or hit objects that could cause accidents.
  • hand-eye-foot coordination: as a hoist operator, you should have steady hands and feet to guide the heavy machinery precisely. Manual dexterity ensures that you can use your hands and feet to control and manoeuvre the equipment in tight spaces or uneven surfaces.
  • mechanical skills: as a hoist operator, you conduct tests and maintenance functions on hoists and other moving equipment. Having mechanical aptitude helps you perform basic repairs easily and ensure the equipment is in good working order.
  • visual ability: as a hoist operator, you need good vision to see where you are moving the materials or workers. It is important to watch out for construction projects or workers nearby to avoid accidents.

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FAQs about working as a hoist operator

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