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Hoist and Winch Operator

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What Does it Take to Be a Hoist and Winch Operator?

Job Description: Operate or tend hoists or winches to lift and pull loads using power-operated cable equipment.

Life As a Hoist & Winch Operator: What Do They Do?

  • Attach, fasten, and disconnect cables or lines to loads, materials, and equipment, using hand tools.
  • Apply hand or foot brakes and move levers to lock hoists or winches.
  • Tend auxiliary equipment, such as jacks, slings, cables, or stop blocks, to facilitate moving items or materials for further processing.
  • Climb ladders to position and set up vehicle-mounted derricks.
  • Repair, maintain, and adjust equipment, using hand tools.
  • Move levers, pedals, and throttles to stop, start, and regulate speeds of hoist or winch drums in response to hand, bell, buzzer, telephone, loud-speaker, or whistle signals, or by observing dial indicators or cable marks.

Things a Hoist & Winch Operator Should Know How to Do

When polled, Hoist and Winch Operators say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Time Management: Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Types of Hoist & Winch Operator Jobs

  • Hoisting Engine Operator
  • Cable Operator
  • Pole Lift Operator
  • Pitman
  • Clean-Out Driller

Job Demand for Hoist and Winch Operators

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 2,900 jobs in the United States for Hoist and Winch Operator. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Hoist and Winch Operator. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 400 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Hoist & Winch Operator are Arkansas, Nebraska, and North Dakota. Watch out if you plan on working in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, or Washington. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Hoist & Winch Operator Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a Hoist & Winch Operator ranges between $28,420 and $110,430.


Hoist and Winch Operators who work in Wyoming, Minnesota, or Washington, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Hoist and Winch Operators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $42,010
California $57,950
Florida $49,830
Indiana $40,550
Kentucky $43,450
Maryland $48,830
Michigan $36,570
Minnesota $77,840
Nebraska $35,760
New Mexico $53,570
New York $53,030
Ohio $37,480
Oregon $47,210
Pennsylvania $45,360
Tennessee $37,820
Texas $43,100
Utah $53,350
Virginia $40,450
Washington $57,850
West Virginia $61,000
Wyoming $79,320

What Tools do Hoist and Winch Operators Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Hoist and Winch Operators may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Data entry software

Becoming a Hoist & Winch Operator

Individuals working as a Hoist and Winch Operator have obtained the following education levels:


What work experience do I need to become a Hoist & Winch Operator?


Where Hoist and Winch Operators Work


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming a Hoist and Winch Operator might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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