How To: Move A Safe

Move A Safe

Moving a 2000 pound safe isn't easy...

I was working as manager for a construction company that was performing an up fit on a century old building in downtown Concord, N.C. The owners wanted us to move a two thousand pound (that's a ton!) safe up to the second story so that it could be displayed in their new office. The safe was located between the first and second floors in a small office that was used for accounting purposes in the old days when said building had been a hardware store.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of how we did it. As you'll see from the video, we had to use a crane that was parked outside and we cut a rectulangular shaped hole in the roof in order to bring the crane boom down to attach to the straps we had secured around the safe so that it could be lifted straight up then shifted over to the second floor. The crane operator could not see the safe from where he was located so we had to communicate with him by means of hand signals and commands. Let me add that this process was extremely nerve wracking and extremely dangerous! It was fairly easy to get the safe lifted straight up, the tricky (and scary) part was shifting it over to be accepted by the second floor.

How To Move A Safe

Step 1 Make sure the relocation spot is strong enough to support the safe.

Consult with a structural engineer as needed. 

Step 2 Get at least 3 people to be present besides the crane operator.

Among them should be at least one person who is educated and/or trained in hand signals associated with cranes.

Step 3 Install heavy duty towing straps.

Install two HEAVY DUTY towing straps parallel underneath the safe, then pull them up the sides, and then across the top making sure that they're centered and even. Watch video for demonstration.

Step 4 Attach straps to crane ball hook.

Attach the straps to the crane ball hook. (Make sure they are attached well!) Watch video.

Step 5 Have crane operator lift safe.

Instruct the crane operator to lift GENTLY to tighten the slack in the towing straps. When everyone is ready, instruct the crane operator to lift SLOWLY.

Step 6 Have crane operator hold safe still.

When the safe is located at the correct altitude or when it is slightly above the floor that is to receive it, instruct the crane operator to stop lifting and to hold the safe still.

Step 7 Shift safe to targeted spot.

Carefully shift safe over towards targeted spot while the crane is holding safe in the air.

Step 8 Verify that your resting spot is stable!

Again, make sure that your resting place for the safe is stable and strong enough to hold the weight of the safe!

Step 9 Instruct crane operator to lower safe.

Instruct the crane operator to SLOWLY lower the safe onto the targeted spot. Make sure all hands, feet, and limbs are out of harm's way as the safe is guided downward!

Step 10 Instruct crane operator to lower boom.

When the safe is resting completely at its resting place, instruct the crane operator to lower the boom about six more inches.

Step 11 Unhook straps.

Unhook the straps from the crane ball hook, and now the straps can fall to the ground. When the straps have been unhooked from the crane ball hook, make sure all men are safely out of the way and inform the crane operator that he can lift the boom safely and that he can be on his way.

Step 12 Remove straps from safe.

Remove the straps from under the safe by pulling them out and roll them up for storage.


  • Moving an object like a safe can be extremely dangerous! Do NOT attempt to do anything like this without the help of a professional who is experienced in moving/handling this sort of thing.
  • Moving a safe can be tricky and DANGEROUS business.
  • The instructions written here and the attached video are the manner in which WE moved a safe. These instructions only specifically apply to our situation and can be only used as a general guide of how to move a safe.
  • Please consult with a professional mover and/or a structural engineer if you wish to move a safe or anything else this heavy as your situation may differ from those outlined here. 

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1 Comment

How did you even get it down there in the first place? Wouldn't it have taken the same amount of heavy duty towing to get into the building as well? I'm just curious as to how this was done without a crane.

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