Moving Safely with Personal Protective Equipment

As a professional in the moving and storage business, you face new challenges every day. Although each move is unique, you have to be prepared for whatever the customer’s situation demands, whether that’s dealing with an antique grand piano, a creaky, undersized elevator in a vintage office building, or a homeowner’s children running around underfoot.

Part of being prepared is having the personal protective equipment (PPE) to help you avoid injury. PPE should be considered a last line of defence when eliminating a hazard through other means is not possible; however, as a mover, you must often work in places where you have no control over the workspace. Which makes that PPE even more vital.

Protecting yourself can be as simple as wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of heavy material to avoid scrapes and cuts. Tank tops and shorts are tempting in hot months, but don’t cover enough skin.

According to “5 Common Moving Injuries and How to Avoid Them,” movers often suffer broken hands, fingers, and toes. All of these hardworking, yet fragile, parts of your body can be easily crushed while maneuvering heavy objects around awkward corners or when something falls on them. They can also be sprained or fractured in a fall.

The best protection for hands is good gloves. In “Gloves Are Tools Too!” Earl Galavan, Canadian Registered Safety Professional and COR Manager at SafetyDriven – Trucking Safety Council of BC, says: “It is easy to overlook what is commonplace yet necessary to the job, and that certainly describes gloves…. [G]loves are not just a simple hand cover, but are really a specialized tool that you use as part of your job.” Thick gloves protect better, but also reduce your ability to grip and manipulate, so choose your gloves according to the job at hand. As Galavan points out: “Using the right tool goes a long way to staying safe on the job.”

No matter what the moving situation, you need sturdy footwear with closed toes. Flip-flops and running shoes are for leisure time. Slip-resistant soles are vital in preventing falls on all of the varying surfaces you will encounter, from polished floor tiles to icy puddles along sidewalks to wet loading ramps. Proper footwear will also protect your toes from dropped objects and support your feet and ankles against twists and sprains. This footwear assessment checklist will help you decide what kind of footwear is suitable for your job.

Have you considered the importance of a high-visibility garment as PPE? You may often have to park your truck on the street with traffic speeding close by. As you move back and forth and around your truck, your safety depends on other drivers seeing you. “Stand Out Safely,” an information poster available through SafetyDriven’s website, discusses some of the high-visibility garments available.

Trucking, moving and storage companies have a powerful partner in safety and has courses, training videos, templates and more to make your company safer.

Visit our Personal Protective Equipment page for more great resources.

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