Why would you use an excavator as a crane?

Excavator as a crane

Excavators are used for digging holes and trenches, and even demolition work, depending on the size of the machine. However the digger that you often see on site can in fact be used for plenty of other tasks. Using an excavator as a crane is becoming a very popular option for some operators. Find out how you can benefit from doing this as well as our NPORS N100 Excavator as a crane course. 


Although excavators are primarily used for standard earthmoving and construction tasks, they can also be used within reason for lifting jobs. Operators can use an excavator as a crane if they are required to lift anything from concrete and metal pipes to other construction materials. 

Using an excavator as a crane safely relies on a number of factors including:

  • Planning and supervision of lifting
  • Competence level of operators
  • Machine maintenance and upkeep

Without all of these, the risk of accidents happening increases significantly. Always make sure that the correct qualifications and training are in place to prevent this. 

Which excavator would typically be used?

Here at the Diggerland Plant Training School we would normally use a Komatsu PC138 US-10 excavator to train with. If an operator requests a machine under 10 tons, we can also accommodate this. 

A PC138 is facilitated as it is an excavator of a sufficient size. For training purposes a light load is used, however it is important to factor in various weights and bear in mind the centre of gravity.

NPORS N100 Excavator as a crane course



Using an excavator as a crane takes up a lot less space than hiring in a crane to complete tasks. If the construction site is limited on space, then an excavator could be the perfect option. Some projects may be located on the roadside and using a crane may not be an option as it will require space.


Although cranes are bigger in size and are a lot more powerful than a typical excavator, excavators will provide enough power to get the job done. Large tracked excavators are tough enough to handle most lifting tasks. With its advanced hydraulic power, an excavator can safely lift and move most heavy materials. 


Budget restricts most construction projects. In an ideal world, sites could be set up with one of every type of machine. However versatile machines such as excavators can limit budget issues. Not only can an excavator be used for everyday construction tasks such as digging, demolition work and scooping up materials, it can also complete tasks that a normal crane would do. Therefore it’s one less machine that is required on site!


Directing the operator using an excavator as a crane is just as important as lifting itself. Signallers are used on site to guide the operator with hand signals and directions to ensure the load is lifted and moved safely. Essentially, they act as the eyes and ears of the operator. They are also responsible for attaching and detaching the load to and from the excavator. If you would also like to become a qualified NPORS signaller we have just the course for you. 

If your job requires you to lift materials frequently, this could prove very beneficial. The course is made up of on site training, classroom learning and a test. Here at Diggerland Plant Training School we can also offer a one day Experienced Worker Test (EWT).

Find out more about our NPORS N402 Sligner / Signaller course today, and enquire to book. 


Our NPORS accredited Excavator as a crane course is aimed at people who require the knowledge and practical skills to safely carry out lifting operations using a 360 Excavator as a Crane.

If the NPORS N100 Excavator as a crane course is for you, then find out what you will be covering when you book on. By the end of this course, operators will be able to complete the following:

  • Have a basic understanding of the industry and responsibilities of an operator
  • Locate and point out the main components
  • Identify all controls for steering, driving and braking
  • Mount and dismount the machine
  • Start and stop the machine safely
  • Carry out all safety checks before moving and identify any safety hazards
  • Carry out a trial lift
  • Lift and move materials to a designated position
  • Understand environmental considerations

Full course content can be found on our website. Operators can expect to complete the course in 1 to 2 days depending on any existing knowledge or experience. The certification will then be valid for up to 5 years before it needs to be renewed.


There are plenty of plant training schools around the UK, however you’ll be in the prime location at the Diggerland Plant Training School.  We have the best machinery available to use for training purposes. 

If you want to book onto our Excavator as a crane course, then we have a number of highly skilled instructors on hand ready to help. We are open from 8am – 6pm, 7 days a week. Our main site is based at Diggerland Kent, that covers London and the South East. However we can also run NPORS courses at our 3 other locations in the UK (Devon, Durham and Yorkshire). We can also arrange for our instructors to teach on a customers site, at a time and date to suit you or your company.

Aside from excavator courses, we can also run the following:

All of our NPORS accredited courses can be found here. Email us today or give us a call on 01634 295355 to book. At this time, we are happy to accept individuals or groups, in line with government guidelines. 

Let’s get learning!