OSHA Safety Manuals | Commercial Movers
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commerical-movers

Commercial Movers

Commercial movers face safety challenges on the job.

Whether moving a business across town or a family across the country, movers must focus on proper ergonomics, material handling, and proper housekeeping.

Ideally, in preparation of the move, visit the sites that you will be packing from and moving into. If this isn’t feasible, consider a site checklist you can send to the client or site contact to evaluate unusual scenarios or any potential hazards.

Also, prepare ahead for types of environments you will be working, such as locations on hills, narrow, winding, or flights of stairs, or other features which can make the job more difficult.

Look for unusually sized furniture and fixtures, quantities of chemicals, or other scenarios that could require extra preparation.

Select the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Choose sturdy work boots to protect your feet from crushing injuries. The boots should have a non-slip sole and a slight heel to assist climbing onto stepstools, ladders, and vehicles.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants to protect your skin.
  • Use gloves to protect your hands from cuts and scrapes when lifting and carrying large items.

Gather tools and supplies that help make the job easier and safer.

  • Bring plenty of boxes, papers, packing blankets, utility knives, and tape supplies.
  • Have enough hand trucks and dollies for everyone to use.
  • Consider furniture sliders and straps to move items and ease loads out of tight areas.
  • Use straps to secure loads during movement and once they are packed in the truck.

Packing boxes should be sized according to the weight of the contents.

  • Put heavy items in small boxes and lighter items in larger boxes.
  • Inside each box, layer the heaviest items on the bottom and gradually lighten up toward the top.
  • Don’t overfill boxes; they may be unstable for carrying or accidentally open during movement.
  • Keep boxes of the size and weight that one person can safely lift and carry.

Set up a packing station about waist height, so you can comfortably place items into the box, seal it, and lift it without bending. Remember to keep your back straight during your work and lifting tasks. Use lifting equipment, team lifts, or power your lifts with your leg muscles, not your back. See more information on safe lifting in our ergonomics chapter. Get as close to your work as possible to avoid extreme reaches, strains and sprains. Also, make sure to use moving equipment or ask for help with unusually sized or heavy items that could lead to awkward lifts.

Watch for special hazards, such as excessive amounts of chemicals, trash or other wastes, dusts, dirt, or aggressive animals. Work with the site contact to make these areas safe for the moving job.

Lastly, housekeeping is important throughout the moving job.

  • Keep debris off of the floor.
  • Cardboard, paper, and plastic and bubble wraps can be very slippery, so don’t store them on the floor or try to walk over them.
  • Don’t block exits, aisles, or hallways with packed boxes and items.
  • Broken glass should be cleaned up with plastic or cardboard scoops and placed in rigid containers labeled, “broken glass.”

A commercial mover’s job is not an easy one; however practicing good teamwork, hazard awareness, and good body mechanics will “move” you in the right direction.