To greatly reduce the risk of injury, you should always adopt the correct lifting technique when moving heavy furniture, boxes or other items. Possible injuries can include torn muscles, spinal problems such as pinched nerves and herniated discs, hiatal hernias and damage to wrists, fingers, elbows, shoulders, knees, hips and ankles. Try to pre-empt any possible risks, whether it’s for a one-off exercise like moving house or if you’re loading and transporting heavy items on a regular basis.
First, choose a safe and clear route that is free from obstacles. Examine the item to be moved and see whether it has comfortable pick-up points where it can be gripped. Make sure the object is evenly-balanced – if it’s a chest of drawers, take the drawers out and carry them separately. If you’re lifting boxes, don’t try to carry too many at once and ensure there’s no danger of something sliding off the top. Only lift a weight that you are comfortable with – for men this is usually about 25kg and for women it is 16kg.
Now position yourself for the lift: a proper stance requires your feet to be shoulder-width apart, your back must be straight and your abdominal muscles tightened. Bend your knees – never your back – and squat down to the floor, looking straight ahead. Grasp the object tightly, using both hands. Make sure you have a firm hold and then you’re ready for the lift. The item must remain close to your body to keep the weight evenly distributed and your back should be straight throughout the process. Use your leg muscles to straighten up and lift the load off the ground. Reduce the load if it exceeds your capabilities and never lift any items that go above shoulder height.
Try to stay upright and always use smooth, slow moves. Never twist your body while moving an object – use your feet to change direction and always take small steps. While moving, try to keep your shoulders lined up with your hips. If two people are lifting long items, such as settees or beds, they should both use the same technique, with the person going backwards taking care that there are no trip hazards en route. Avoid dropping things on the floor by properly strapping any boxes with plastic wire, cord, etc.
When you need to put the load down, return to the squat position. Use your leg muscles and not your back to lower it to the floor, keeping the item close to your body. Lay it down slowly and smoothly, with your back remaining straight until it is safely on the ground or in your vehicle.
When you’re transporting items in a van, always ensure the load is properly secured to avoid damage. H&H Van Hire stocks a number of items to help keep your possessions safe when you’re moving house. Alongside our van hire for removals, we also stock a selection of bubble wrap, packing boxes and packing tape. For more information on our services, please contact us on 020 7916 6616.