Crane Operators, Dogmen and Riggers, who’s involved when you hire a Crane?

If you’ve never hired a crane before you might think the crane hire process is pretty straight forward. You call us, book a crane and then a crane shows up with a driver to lift whatever you need.

While crane hire historically might have been this simple, due to the advanced needs of customers, the inherent dangers involved in moving heavy things and a range of other factors, hiring a crane for a lift is a process that involves more than just the crane operator.

What workers are sent when you hire a Crane?

To ensure the safety of everyone at a lifting site, a credible and reputable crane hire company will often send not only a crane operator, but also a Rigger and/or Dogman when you hire a crane. Each of these workers hold different qualifications, certificates and licenses. Working together they ensure that the lift is completed safely and with no damage to the object being moved.

Crane Operators

A crane operator is the person who drives and operates the crane. Whether you hire a 20 Tonne Crane or a 220 Tonne Crane, you’ll need a crane operator to safely use it. 

What does a Crane Operator do?

Besides their obvious tasks and duties of operating the crane before, during and after the lift, they’re also responsible for:

  • Inspecting and maintaining crane equipment.
  • Checking ground conditions before setting up the crane.
  • Deciding whether to place steel plates or timber under the crane’s outrigger pads based on ground conditions.
  • Checking instruments in the crane cabin to ensure loads are within safe limits.
  • Following the signals of the team on the ground to ensure correct load placement.

What Licenses, Qualifications & Certificates does a Crane Operator need?

Given the high risk nature of the role, to legally become a fully qualified crane operator, over 6 licenses, accreditations and certifications are required.

Licenses held by a Crane Operator

  • High Risk Work Licence (Issued by Worksafe Australia) 
  • Dogging License  (Issued by Worksafe Australia)
  • Heavy Rigid (HR) Truck License (Issued or Approved by the Operators Local Traffic Authority)
  • Tickets vary from CN to C0 m CN being non slewing crane licence and C0 being open slewing crane Licence. (Issued through Worksafe Australia) 
  • Intermediate rigging license (Issued by Worksafe Australia) 

Accreditations held by a Crane Operator

  • Construction ‘White Card’ (issued by a recognised RTO)


A Rigger is a worker who is responsible for moving heavy materials and equipment around worksites. When it comes to crane hire they’re responsible for setting up crane equipment and temporary structures so that the crane can perform the lift.

What does a Rigger do?

A Rigger moves heavy objects through utilising rigging gear such as chain blocks and winches. Riggers may also assemble temporary and permanent structures such as structural steel and precast panels. If the rigger is classed as intermediate they are licensed to hook up, rotate and install Precast concrete structures, move and assemble pre–cast facades and panels on buildings under construction. They can also perform ‘dual lifts’ meaning they can use more than one crane to perform a lift when required.

Their key duties include:

  • Estimating the weight and size of objects to be lifted and deciding on the equipment to be used
  • Identifying and mitigating hazards associated with a lift
  • Ensuring the load being lifted is stable
  • Complying with workplace Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) procedures
  • Signalling and guiding the Crane Operator during the lift
  • Setting up, using and dismantling rigging equipment such as slings, shackles, chokers and winches
  • Lifting and erecting prefabricated panels made of steel, glass or concrete.
  • Inspecting all lifting gear before and after lifts to ensure gear is not compromised or damaged.
  • Erecting structural steel
  • Ensuring that all erected structures are completely safe and of Australian standard.

What Licenses, Qualifications & Certificates does a Rigger need?

While the licenses, qualifications and certificates to become an accredited Rigger are less than that of a crane operator, there is still stringent regulation that ensures all Riggers are able to perform their job safely and competently.

Licenses held by a Rigger

  • A High Risk Work Licence (Issued by Worksafe Australia)
  • A Dogging licence  (Issued by Worksafe Australia)
  • A minimum Basic riggers (RB) licence 

Accreditations held by a Rigger

  • Many employers require a Working at heights accreditation (Issued by Worksafe Australia)
  • Construction ‘White Card’ (issued by a recognised RTO)


The job title of Dogman is in reference to a ‘Dog’, which is a mechanical device used for gripping and not the animal. The term became popular in Australia in the 1940’s and has stuck ever since, but Dogmen are also referred to as Spotters.

What does a Dogman do?

Dogmen often work in  teams and are primarily responsible for slinging loads and directing the Crane Operator when the lift is out of their view via the use of radio communication, whistles and hand signals. While there is much overlap between what a Dogman and Rigger can do, Dogmen’s responsibilities are more focused on:

  • Selecting the correct lifting gear and inspecting it before use.
  • Slinging loads using the correct trained techniques.
  • Directing the Crane Operator during the movement of loads.
  • General lifts.
  • Ensuring all gear is checked before and after each lift to ensure lifting gear is not compromised or damaged.
  • Ensure the safety of people working around the crane and live loads.

What Licenses & Qualifications does a Dogman need?

In order to become a Dogman there are several licenses and qualifications you need to obtain in order to complete this work efficiently and safely.

Licenses held by a Dogman

  • A High Risk Work Licence (Issued by Worksafe Australia)
  • Licence to perform dogging (CPCCLDG3001A) (Issued by recognised RTO)

Accreditations held by a Rigger

  • Many employers require a Working at heights accreditation (Issued by Worksafe Australia)
  • Construction ‘White Card’ (issued by a recognised RTO)

Why Choose Premier Cranes & Rigging?

At Premier Cranes and Rigging our culture is driven by one tag – #TeamLifting. This requires continuous improvement, innovation, and an investment in our greatest asset – OUR PEOPLE

We have selected and trained our Crane Operators, Riggers and Dogmen to be highly skilled experts in their field.  Whether it’s a small builder site, medium sized commercial project, or state-backed development, our team of motivated and passionate crane and rigging professionals thrive on challenges. Whether you need to dismantle a tower crane, require panel installation or steel erection, or simply need something lifted; we have the expertise, experience and equipment to deliver safe and effective lifting solutions.

Call (03) 9311 1499 to chat with us about our crane hire solutions or book online today!