The Bekins Blog
Don’t Hurt Yourself: Tips For Avoiding Injury During Your Move
Moving day is often stressful for both mind and body. You spend the day moving boxes, hauling furniture and lifting items in and out of vehicles and up and down stairs. While many belongings can become damaged during a move, the most common damages are injuries to yourself or to people who have come to help.
Not only will an injury take you out of commission for the rest of day (not to mention during days of unpacking afterward), but some injuries can cost you in medical bills and time off work. With some preparation and mindfulness, you can hopefully avoid injuring yourself on moving day. Consider the following tips to help you stay safe.
Practice Good Form
Many moving injuries come from using incorrect form when trying to heft bulky or heavy objects. Remember to always bend at the knees. Keep your back straight and your head erect when lifting something heavy. If you use your legs to lift while keeping your core muscles engaged, your back is less likely to become strained.
If you are short, never be tempted to lift items above your head. If you overbalance, you could drop the item and it could injure your head and neck. Other safety tips include:
- Keep your feet at shoulder width apart when lifting. This gives you a more solid foundation and will keep you from twisting or bending unnaturally.
- Carry boxes at eye level or below. Never twist from side to side when carrying a box or piece of furniture.
- Wear supportive shoes with good grip for slick truck bed surfaces, floors and walkways, especially in the winter or when it rains.
- Keep all movements slow and steady. If you are pushing or pulling an object, always try to keep movements controlled instead of jerking.
If you know you have to prepare for a move, you can practice good form and build your strength beforehand. You might even spend some time doing squats and deadlifts in the gym to get ready for the big day.
Keep a First Aid Kit Handy and Stocked
Back injuries from lifting with bad form are not the only wounds you might see on moving day. Smashed fingers, twisted ankles and other minor but painful injuries are still common. Instead of packing all your first aid supplies, make sure you keep them in a place where they can be easily accessed by those who are helping with your move.
You’ll want to make sure you have over-the-counter pain medication, wipes for cleaning out scratches and cuts, small and large bandages, antibiotic ointment, medical tape and at least one tensor bandage for sprains or strains. Let your helpers know where the first aid kit is and how to access it in the event someone gets a minor injury.
Know Your Limits
Sometimes, especially if help is limited, you’ll push yourself hard on moving day. However, it’s important for everyone to know their limits. For example, if an appliance is too heavy to haul yourself and you do not have an extra set of hands, set it aside and cover it with a tarp until you can get some help.
Pushing yourself to carry more than you can lift or to move more when you are tired will only put you out of commission, leaving the move unfinished. Take care not to:
- Run or move too quickly, even when carrying light items. A slow and steady pace is best for endurance and injury prevention.
- Carry more than one box at a time. You risk dropping one of the boxes, potentially injuring your feet and breaking what is inside the box.
- Move furniture alone. Some furniture can be carried by one person, but you should always have a spotter close by in case you need help.
Professional movers are there so that you don’t have to push yourself to the limit. If you have limited volunteer help for your move, hiring help is worth the investment simply for injury prevention alone.
You can also reduce the risk of injury by providing protection for your helpers and yourself. Be sure to:
- Use gloves on your hands to prevent smashed fingers. You might still get some bruises, but instances of open wounds will be reduced.
- Insist that every person wear close-toed shoes. Shoes with steel toes are the best for preventing foot injuries, but not everyone has a pair. Sturdy work boots or quality tennis shoes will also work. High-top sneakers provide the best stability and flexibility. Never allow anyone to move items while wearing flip-flops.
- Provide hand trucks and sliders to reduce the amount of manual hauling necessary.
- Avoid wearing flowing clothing, like a dress, scarf, or baggy shirt that can catch on corners or snag on furniture.
Finally, never allow someone (including yourself) with a medical condition, a previous injury, or other extenuating condition to help with moving heavy items. You simply don’t know if they will be up to the task.
The professionals a Bekins Van Lines, Inc. have the knowledge and experience to safely move your belongings. For more information about safe moving practices, contact us today.