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Corps crane operators complete crane proficiency training

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Feb. 3, 2020
Photo by Mark Rankin

A group of employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Operations Division recently completed a required 100-ton Crane proficiency certification training at Barkley Lock Jan 30, 2020. (USACE photo by Mark Rankin)

Photo by Mark Rankin

A group of employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Operations Division recently completed a required 100-ton Crane proficiency certification training at Barkley Lock Jan 30, 2020. (USACE photo by Mark Rankin)

Photo by Mark Rankin

Darryl Henry, a mechanic, operates a 100-ton crane during a required crane proficiency certification training at Barkley Lock Jan 30, 2020. (USACE photo by Mark Rankin)

GRAND RIVERS, Tenn. (Feb. 2, 2020) –  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, Operations Division personnel recently completed required 100-ton Crane Proficiency Certification training at Barkley Lock.  All the employees currently have completed 50-ton certifications and operate cranes around the district.

According to James Sowell, Operations safety officer and Crane and Hoist program manager, the proficiency training was required because of a recent acquisition of a 100-ton mobile Link Belt 4x4X4 Rough Terrain Crane.  Sowell coordinated the training and he along with Harold Deskins, Old Hickory Lock, lock and dam equipment mechanic supervisor instructed the proficiency course.

“These guys already have the operation skills, competency and knowledge to operate almost any crane throughout the district,” said Sowell.  “However, this specific training is for them to operate a 100-ton crane.”

Sowell said the district has many needs and requirements for 100-ton mobile cranes at recreation areas, locks and dams, and maintenance facilities.

Sowell said crane operator training teaches how to operate a variety of mobile cranes but specifically the 100-ton mobile Link Belt 4x4X4 Rough Terrain Crane.  Class specific topics covered: Safety Crane Set-up, Wire Rope, Load Dynamics, Lift Planning, Load Charts, Rigging, Signaling Operation Regulations, Operating the boom and a final inspection.

“This crane training is critical because we have mechanics, electricians, maintenance and engineers here who work in crane operation environments every day,” said Sowell.  “These are the men and women working at the locks, dams, powerhouses, in and around cranes.” 

Carl Scott, a work leader at Wheeler Lock said he has worked around the Nashville District for 30 years doing maintenance on many of the locks and dams on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and he’s very happy to see the equipment has gotten safer and much simpler to operate.

“It’s almost like getting an upgrade when buying a new car,” said Scott. “You have to be focused, and understand job requirements before operating it. 

Sowell said the goal of the district is to have enough proficient operators positioned in case a crane operator is needed in that specific area.

“We have all types of cranes,” said Scott, “Everything from 30 to100-ton cranes that vary by size, shape, mobility and terrain.”

“Safety is always paramount,” said Scott. “You can never put a price tag on a life or being safe and you can never practice too much safety.”   

Sowell said the district’s goal is to certify training for crane operators and this includes requirements for different levels of crane responsibility.  Operations Division personnel have completed 95 percent of the required training.

“It definitely takes practice, patience and time as an operator, but this is why we have training,” said Scott.  “It’s good to practice operating a crane this and know that if any emergency arises we will know how to react and handle the situation.”  

(The public can get more water safety information at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/WaterSafety.aspx and local lake information at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes.aspx. The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)