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Moving safety

Movers are exposed to several risks of injury, such as dropping furniture, skinning or pinching fingers or slipping or falling while carrying a load.

Lack of time can also become a risk factor, especially in the high season for moving. Planning is an essential step for a safe and efficient move. Safe work measures must also be applied.


When it is very hot, it is important to follow appropriate preventive measures to avoid heat stroke. For example, adjust the pace of work, take short breaks regularly, drink plenty of cool water and wear appropriate clothing.

Safety rules

Recommended safety measures
  • Park the moving truck as close as possible to the moving location to reduce the distance to be covered when carrying loads.
  • Make sure passageways are clear.
  • Use walk ramps and platforms as much as possible to facilitate access to the truck and avoid stairs. Walk ramps and platforms must be fairly wide (minimum 60 cm) and the gradient must be as low as possible.
  • Preferably use wheeled material handling equipment to move loads. For example, stack boxes on a hand truck and use an appliance truck to move household appliances. For very heavy loads, such as a piano or a large refrigerator, use specialized equipment.
  • Always work in pairs and use moving straps that intersect at the back to carry shelves, cabinets, household appliances and any other heavy furniture.
  • Make sure you use an appropriate material handling technique: grasp the load firmly, hold it close to the body and do not lift excessive loads.
Safe technique for loading and unloading
  • Organize the work so as to avoid unnecessary material handling.
  • Determine the order in which the boxes will be moved.
  • Avoid using defective equipment.
  • Create balanced stacks.
  • Avoid carrying objects that are too heavy and ask a co-worker for help if necessary.
  • Put light items at the top of the load.
  • Put equipment away as you go along so that nothing is left lying about.
  • Do not move the vehicle without securing the equipment.
  • Fold blankets and put them away as you go along.
Safe technique for carrying boxes
  • Assess the weight, stiffness, stability and centre of gravity of the box.
  • Grasp the box firmly with your hands.
  • Avoid picking up several boxes at once so that you always have a clear view.
  • Bring the box close to your body before lifting it.
  • During transport, keep the box as close as possible to your body and at hip height.
  • Avoid twisting your back when you have a load in your hands.
  • Adopt a comfortable posture during material handling. Walk with your feet slightly apart, knees slightly bent and back straight. Take small steps.
  • Avoid jerky movements.
  • Avoid handling materials above shoulder height.
Planning for a safe move

Before the move

  • Make sure the required handling equipment and materials are:
    • accessible
    • in good condition
    • suitable for the task to be performed
  • Plan the path you are going to take
  • Clear the workspace

Inspection of access and the premises

Before undertaking the move, the work team must:

  • visit the premises to organize and assign tasks
  • take into account the particularities of the space (stairwell, narrow or winding stairs, large handrails, low doors, cramped entrance, etc.)
  • check the condition of lifts and freight elevators, where applicable
  • check the width and strength of the stairs
  • clear all the areas you will be passing through (access, entrances and corridors)
  • clear the path: ◦ make sure the floor is clean and unobstructed
    • make sure the stairs are clean and unobstructed
    • remove any doors that make access difficult
    • wedge open doors that must be kept open
    • roll carpets up
    • remove paintings, green plants, etc.
    • clean the floor, depending on the season (remove snow, ice, dead leaves, etc.)
  • locate differences in floor height
  • make sure there is adequate lighting

Preparation and inspection of the goods

Movers must make sure that the following precautions have been taken before loading begins.

  • Furniture drawers have been emptied, blocked or removed.
  • Movable or sliding parts of furniture have been disassembled or secured.
  • Nails and screws have been removed or protected.
  • The movable part of the sofa bed has been secured.
  • The tops of cabinets and furniture are completely clear.
  • The furniture is wrapped in blankets.
  • For household appliances:
    • drain water
    • wedge moving parts
    • never dismantle electrical or gas-powered appliances.
  • Never move appliances with an oil, gas or gasoline tank.

Preparation of boxes

If the customer packs the boxes, the movers must:

  • check their strength and make sure nothing is sticking out
  • mark the boxes
  • make sure containers of liquids are tightly sealed

If the moving team packs the boxes, the movers must:

  • choose strong boxes, preferably with handles
  • avoid filling them with heavy items
  • seal containers of liquids tightly and identify the boxes containing them
  • make stable stacks no higher than shoulder height
  • start by packing the top shelves, if emptying a bookcase
Relevant training
  • Accident risks
  • How to use equipment
  • The main material handling principles
  • Teamwork
  • Vehicle loading methods
  • Safe driving
  • Risk of heat stroke and prevention

Protective measures

  • Work gloves:
    • that fit properly
    • that cover the wrists and lower forearms
    • that are made of materials that will reduce slippage of loads and absorb sweat
  • Clothing:
    • that is loose enough to allow movement
    • that covers the shoulders (a T-shirt, but not a vest) and the thighs (shorts and pants)
    • that absorbs sweat
  • Work shoes with non-slip soles and protective toe cap:
    • for workers, protective footwear that complies with CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z195-02, required under section 344 of the Règlement sur la santé et la sécurité du travail;
    • for individuals, preferably the same protective footwear as for workers; otherwise, closed shoes with good support

Do not wear jewellery that can get stuck or caught, such as rings or bracelets.