A great deal of planning and organization goes into moving day, including preparation for any potential dangers or hazards you may encounter. We spoke with AMJ Commercial Sales Manager Sylas Vallee about maintaining safety on the big day. Vallee has 15 years of experience working on moving trucks and has shared with us some important safe moving practices that employees and customers alike should consider.
Assess potential hazards
One of the first and most important things to do before moving day is to address any areas of safety concern. The hazard assessment will begin around 1 – 2 months before the moving date.
“The sales person is going to come through and they’ll do a walkthrough to give the quote, and at the same time they’ll bring up any safety concerns they see at that point, too,” says Vallee.
As the day approaches you’ll want to begin assessing potential hazards yourself. Vallee advises to do a walkthrough on the day before your move to highlight any areas of concern.
“The client is going to want to have a quick look over their property to see if there are any hazards that they will need to communicate to the driver upon arrival.”
If you notice anything that could be dangerous, you can mark it with a ribbon or environmentally friendly chalk. By marking the hazard, you make it visible for the movers while they’re working. You will also go through a final assessment with the moving team to ensure that all concerns have been addressed and communicated.
“The driver, upon arrival, is going to do a walkthrough with the customer, discussing mostly what needs to be moved and what’s staying. At the same time, they’ll be doing a hazard assessment and communicating with each other any concerns they have as far as safety or obstructions.”
Having children and pets around on moving day could also be unsafe. If possible, Vallee advises to make plans with grandparents, friends, or a babysitter to care for them while you move. If not, there are some ways you can minimize the risk of them getting injured.
“If you can, give them a little education on the hazards of being in the way and what could happen, and then maybe give them a light task like bringing their outside toys around to the front in a safe fashion,” Vallee suggests. However, he does emphasize that it’s optimal to keep them off-site to ensure everyone’s safety.
Use the proper equipment
Especially when it comes to large and heavy items, it’s important to use the appropriate equipment. By hiring professional movers, you minimize your own risk of getting injured by trying to move these items yourself.
“We coach and educate our [movers] on proper lifting techniques, not to be afraid to ask for help if something is too heavy, to take micro-breaks after a big lift, and to adjust the next task to fit within the fatigue of the task before it,” Vallee explains.
Professional movers will also come with equipment to move all kinds of objects, including an appliance dolly for refrigerators or washers and dryers, and a hand truck to cart a few boxes at once. Vallee stresses the importance of using these tools when applicable to reduce the weight strain.
A traction mat can also protect both you and the environment from any harm.
“It’s a protective floor covering,” Vallee describes. “It not only protects the carpets and the client’s property, but it also adds traction for the movers if they’re on slippery surfaces.”
You can also place pylons around the moving truck if it blocks the road at all. Vallee says, “It brings attention to a truck that could blend into the environment quite easily.” These pylons will alert passing cars that there are people moving back and forth from the truck, so they will be prepared to slow down and/or stop if necessary.
Communicate with each other
“Communication is key,” says Vallee.
Throughout the day, it’s important to talk to and rely on each other to reduce risk of injury, strain, or fatigue.
“Anytime you see a hazard, let anyone who could be affected by it know,” Vallee asserts. “Safety is everyone’s concern.”
It can be easy to forget about a crack in the driveway or the height of a doorway. You can prevent others from getting hurt by pointing out these hazards rather than assuming they are aware of them.
Vallee also discusses the importance of using a spotter when bringing larger items out to the truck.
“Have a third man who can navigate your route for you and be the spotter and communicator to guide the [movers] and let them know if there are any obstacles in their way or keep the path clear.”
Two people will generally lift the heavier items together. You can avoid strain by communicating with each other to lift and set down the item at the same time. A third person can also relieve one lifter should they become fatigued.
Rather than taking on tasks alone, communicate with your team to devise different strategies that can save you time and energy.
“If you’ve got a lot of boxes that you’re running up and down the stairs, it’s always good to run it in a ‘chain gang,’” Vallee suggests. “You’ll have about 3 people on the stairs who are passing the items to each other as opposed to everybody running up and down the stairs. A chain gang with eliminate a lot of exertion and strain.”
Leave it to the professionals
You’ve hired movers so you can relax a little on moving day. As such, feel free to allow the movers to take care of everything. If you really feel the need to help, Vallee recommends asking first.
“Ask the driver if he’s open to help, and he will determine from there what items he feels comfortable letting the customer take care of.”
If you are helping with the move, make sure you are lifting properly with bent legs and a straight back to avoid any strain on your muscles. It’s also important to stay hydrated—especially with the warm summer months approaching.
Check your vehicle
Moving day isn’t only about getting your belongings safely to the truck—you also need to ensure that the truck itself is running properly in order to get your things safely to your new home.
“One of the aspects of our safety culture and protecting the environment is ensuring that our trucks are well-maintained and pre-tripped daily,” says Vallee. “In the morning, [the movers] do a pre-trip on their vehicle, which includes a circle check: checking all the chemicals and safety functions.”
Additionally, the movers will make sure they’ve chosen the best route possible by considering any construction or traffic delays.
Part of ensuring you stay safe throughout moving day is to wear the proper clothing. Avoid anything loose-fitting.
“You don’t want any snag-able articles,” Vallee recommends. “You want to dress comfortably, but you want to dress tight to the body. You want good, supportive footwear—something that’s going to give you a bit of ankle protection if you’re going to be helping out with the move in any fashion.”
Consider the environment
Keeping the environment safe is also an important consideration. AMJ Campbell can supply moving boxes for you, which they will then pick up once they have been unpacked.
“We protect the environment by recycling all of our used boxes and cardboard. If they can be re-used for applications, we’ll do that, but if they’re too far-gone, we’ll take them to the local cardboard recycling facility,” Vallee says.
In addition, laying a traction mat or cardboard over any grass that will be walked on can help protect it from getting torn up.
There are many aspects of safety to consider when you’re moving. Hiring professional movers will help keep you safe by taking care of everything for you.
“At AMJ Campbell, we adhere to the latest updates to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and, in some cases, we exceed those regulations,” says Vallee. “We’ve created a safety culture that exceeds the industry standard.”
These health and safety regulations are in place to keep everyone involved in the move as safe as possible. Your moving team has been trained specially for this job, so if you ever have questions on moving day, feel free to ask them.
“As soon as you know you’re moving, it’s time to start planning for the move,” Vallee advises. Don’t forget to incorporate safety considerations when making plans.
Vallee’s final word of advice: “Make your best move—safely.”
For more tips on conducting a safe and successful move, reach out to an AMJ Campbell moving specialist near you today.