Four Ways To Avoid Injury During Your Big Move
If you're prepared for a move, you're in the middle of packing and figuring out the ins and outs of your new neighborhood, while trying to tie up loose ends as you near the final days in your current home. Injury can make the stress of a move even more pronounced, but the physical and mental stress of moving can actually hurt you badly. Here are some things you should do to make sure that you and those helping you move avoid injury.
1. Plan the move of heavy objects before trying.
One of the main reasons that people get injured when moving is because they are trying to maneuver awkward, heavy objects up stairs, around tight corners, or through narrow doorways. Before moving heavy items like couches, shelves, or appliances, measure the objects and test their weight. Look for the path of least resistance through the home -- it may not be the front door, but instead might be through a window or patio.
When moving an item up the stairs, have spare people spotting the move to catch an item should someone drop it accidentally or trip going up the stairs. These people need to be in place before the item is moved, which why planning the movements beforehand is so important.
2. Use moving equipment.
You know that using a dolly or hand truck makes moving items over a level surface or down a ramp easy, but some items are too heavy, large, or bulky to move with a hand truck. In this case, it can be good to look into other safe moving methods that will spare your hands and legs from injury. For example, moving straps can loop under a heavy dresser and then loop over your forearms. This saves your wrists from overextending and helps you to stand straight instead of stooping awkwardly to grip the dresser from underneath.
Other equipment you should try to utilize are skid or roller bars for moving heavy objects over the ground -- this helps to protect the furniture from skid marks but also keeps you from needing to pick it up off the ground. Boards with steel casters can also be good for rolling items into place. Felt blankets are another option for pushing appliances into place -- they protect wooden or tile floors from damage. The mantra of "work smarter, not harder" definitely applies to moving heavy items with more equipment than just your body.
3. Lift correctly.
Unfortunately, moving equipment can't move everything. Heavy boxes still need to be taken up and downstairs or stacked on top of each other. Even packing heavy objects can cause injury if you are not moving well. Always lift from the legs and bend at the knees, keeping your core tight and your back neutral when picking something up off the ground. When placing something into a spot above you, try to avoid lifting things over your head (if a box bottoms out, you could suffer a head injury), but instead use a step stool to carry something at chest height.
4. Keep a first aid kit and extra help handy.
Cuts and scrapes should be minimized with the above precautions, but they can still happen occasionally. Keep a large first aid kit handy -- leaving it unpacked from the rest of your belongings -- that has many sizes of bandages, gauze, ointments, and pain medications. Also, be prepared with a few extra people during the move just in case someone does injure themselves and needs to take a break or bow out, as moving with fewer people than necessary can lead to move injuries if you're trying to do too much without help.
You can click here for more info on what kind of moving supplies might be helpful to you.