The Star (Jamaica)
Milden Robinson is hooked on cranes
Not many people can brag that they laid the foundation for several buildings in Jamaica.
But that is the reality for crane operator Milden Robinson, who has more than two decades of experience in the field. A lover of trucks and machine-operated equipment, Robinson left his home in St Catherine in the 1990s to seek employment in the Corporate Area. He secured employment at Tank- Weld in the metals department, but shortly after was transferred to the fabrications department where he still works.
“The first building me put up was the German School [JamaicanGerman Automotive School] a Maxfield [Avenue]. I don’t even remember what year it was but my boss at the time just mark out the levers and me can drive the truck and I went in there and start work. From that day I don’t leave from the crane,” Robinson shared.
Since he joined the team at Tank- Weld, he has acquired certification in crane operations and travelled overseas to work as a crane operator. At Tank-Weld’s Equipment Expo last week at the company’s distribution centre, the Glengoffe Secondary School graduate was proud to show some of his handiwork.
On a typical day, Robinson takes charge of the steering of a Shacman 10-tonne knuckle crane, and easily manoeuvres the scale to lift and place in position various building materials, namely, beams and long pieces of steel. He explained the mechanics of operating the heavy machinery.
“There is a range. If you notice the longer you go out to the point, is the less load you can lift. It’s on a scale. So the shorter the boom [the arm of the crane] is the more weight you lift and the longer the boom is the less you can lift. So it’s not true [what] they say. Is a crane and it’s 10 tonnes, that doesn’t mean you can bring it out to the last point and lift 10 tonnes of weight,” the master operator demonstrated for the news team.
Anyone looking to do the job must have a strong grasp of critical thinking, have problemsolving skills, sharp hearing and a distinct eye for details. These skills, Robinson explained, will prevent accidents on the job, especially preventing a crane from tipping over. But he admitted that he had one mishap while he was erecting a cell tower at a school in the Corporate Area.
“Rain just done fall and I smelled a pit and I said to the gentleman that a pit is here and he said ‘No’, but I said I smelled it. He said ‘Boy, a me control the school and me nuh know of nuh pit.’ I picked up the first block of the pole and by the time I come with the second pole, the crane just burst down in the pit and the boom drop down on the school,” he said. “The principal came same time and said ‘ You know how long we looking for this pit?’ It’s just one of these things where you in the crane you can control with a lever. If you find the crane leaning, you can bring back the weight to the other way a little bit. It can prevent the crane from going down.”
Robinson stressed that his job has grown increasingly important in the safe construction of buildings and he urged young persons to get trained in the sector.
“Training is not hard again you know because you can go online and gain the information. Crane work is nice, because if you get a job to lift 200 tonnes of material and when you sit down in the crane and feel comfortable and you know you lift the material, put it in place and you look up and see it sit where you want it, you will feel good in yourself to get that mission accomplished. As long as you know what you are doing, you cannot be intimidated. This truck is easier to drive than a car,” Robinson said, before bursting out in laughter.