Safety First: How Using the Right Moving Equipment Minimizes Hazards and Protects People and Goods


Heavy lifting and moving-related injuries are some of the most common workplace injuries. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest data shares over 86,000 reported cases of lifting-related injuries.

Some workplace lifting injuries occur over time. However, many result from one-time lifts and can be prevented with the proper moving equipment.

This guide discusses some of the most well-known hazards associated with using improper equipment for transferring heavy objects, as well as how employers — especially those who run moving companies — can avoid them.


Hazards of Using Improper Moving Equipment

When moving company employees try to move heavy objects without the proper equipment, they increase their risk of various injuries.

The following are some of the most well-known hazards associated with improper heavy lifting and other moving mistakes:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders caused by overexertion, repetitive motion, awkward lifting posture, and contact stress (pressure from hard/sharp objects)/
  • Slips, trips, and falls caused by wet/slippery surfaces, clutter, uneven/unstable surfaces, inadequate footwear, and limited visibility.
  • Injuries from falling objects, which can result from improper lifting techniques, inadequate load securing, poor equipment maintenance, equipment overload, and other unsafe work practices.
  • Crushing injuries caused by improper equipment use, poor communication, poor equipment maintenance, and inadequate load securing.
  • Overexertion from lifting objects that are too heavy, repetitive motions, working in hot/humid conditions, and poor fitness/conditioning.

Some of these injuries can happen suddenly after just one incorrect movement or accident. Others may come on gradually as a result of consistent improper lifting or other repetitive motions.

Types of Moving Equipment

Employees shouldn’t be limited to their own two hands when it comes to lifting heavy objects, like fully packed boxes and furniture. They should have access to equipment that simplifies these processes and keeps them safe.

The following are some examples of equipment that makes moving easier and minimizes the hazards discussed in the previous section:

  • Walking Equipment: Tugs, dollies, and hand trucks can be used to move materials and equipment horizontally across floors, sidewalks, parking lots, etc.
  • Standing Equipment: Motorized standing tools can be ridden like a scooter and used to transfer heavy objects without putting pressure on the joints, ligaments, muscles, etc.
  • Sitting Equipment: Tools like the Carry-on Comfort allow employees to stay seated while transferring materials and equipment. They can also be used to put objects away on high shelves without requiring employees to lift them overhead.

Some moving tools are also automatic to further simplify the process of transferring heavy objects without putting employees at risk of musculoskeletal injuries, crushing injures, slips, trips, falls, etc.

Tips for Using Moving Equipment to Minimize Hazards and Protect People and Goods

Access to the right equipment is the first step to proper materials handling and keeping employees safe. However, you must also choose the right equipment and teach movers how to use it correctly.

Here are four additional tips to ensure movers use proper tools and stay safe while moving heavy objects:

1. Offer Ongoing Training

Employees must know how to use moving equipment to avoid accidents and injuries.

Make sure team members receive thorough training from day one. They should be introduced to the tools they’ll use on the job and given in-depth tutorials on how to use them, potential issues they might encounter, and how to troubleshoot minor problems.

In addition to training new movers during the onboarding process, it’s also important to offer ongoing training. Even seasoned employees can benefit from regular reminders to ensure they know how to use the equipment and aren’t making mistakes that could put them or their colleagues at risk.

2. Inspect and Maintain Moving Equipment

Even if movers know how to use a particular piece of equipment, they can still get hurt or cause someone else to get hurt if that tool isn’t working as it should.

Regular inspections can help you and your employees ensure all devices are working as they should. They allow you to identify potential problems sooner and rectify them before something terrible happens.

Along with regular inspections, maintenance is also essential. Schedule maintenance appointments so that the company’s moving equipment gets regular tune-ups. Not only will this help you avoid accidents, but it also extends the equipment’s lifespan.

3. Store Equipment Properly

Proper storage will also help you to preserve moving equipment and prevent deterioration, which could lead to malfunctioning equipment or other issues that could contribute to accidents or injuries.

Make sure you have dedicated places for storing all moving equipment. Ensure employees know where equipment should go and that they always put it away at the end of their shifts, too.

4. Develop a Clear Reporting Process

During training sessions, movers should receive information about whom to contact if they notice an issue with a piece of equipment. Clarify the reporting process and the chain of command to ensure problems get rectified as quickly as possible.

Without a straightforward reporting process, it’s easy for information to get lost or miscommunicated, delaying repairs and increasing the risk of injuries or accidents.

5. Promote Employee Health and Well-being

In addition to having access to the proper equipment and receiving sufficient training, employers can also reduce the risk of moving and lifting-related injuries by prioritizing and promoting employee health and well-being.

One way to do this is by making sure employees have comprehensive benefits that provide access to affordable physical and mental health care. If movers get regular preventative care and treatment for minor injuries, they can prevent issues from escalating and becoming more serious or even permanent.

Protect Your Movers with the Proper Equipment

Choosing the right equipment and using it appropriately can significantly reduce the risk of movers being injured while moving heavy objects on the job. The same goes for providing proper training and adequate healthcare.

If you work in the moving industry (or any other field that requires heavy lifting), you can use the above guidelines to select tools that make your employees’ jobs easier and safer.