When you are moving, you have a million things on your mind, several errands to run, people to meet and talk to, supplies to procure, and processes to execute. It can be harrowing and stressful. It wouldn’t be uncommon for you to lose focus now and then. This gets tricky because if you do not focus on the tasks at hand, especially on a moving day, you could have an accident and get injured. It’s very important to be mindful of your physical and mental limitations, accept where you need help, and plan your move in a smooth, safe, and efficient way.
You’ll be surprised to know how common moving injuries are. If you handle extra heavy items without proper support or planning, you can expect broken toes and fingers, aches and pains, and muscle spasms. These are the five most common injuries people experience on a moving day.
Back injuries: We rely on our backs for support in pretty much everything we do in the day. We can take our back for granted and are only made aware of its presence when we get hurt. Heavy lifting without prior experience, warming up, or sufficient preparation can seriously injure your back. So, you must learn how to pick things up the correct way. Instead of relying on your waist by bending forward and straining your back muscles, rely more on your hips. Squat lower when picking up heavy items. If you have a pre-existing back condition, refrain from heavy lifting and ask for help.
Butterfingers = Broken fingers, toes, and hands: We constantly use our hands to move things and are on our feet most of the day. In a moment of stress, many people absent-mindedly drop things on the floor or their feet. This would be bearable on any other day. But on moving day, dropping things means serious injury. You could break your hands, fingers, or toes, or at least do them serious harm if you are not careful while carrying items on the move.
Cuts and scrapes: Be aware of sharp objects when packing up different parts of the house. While kitchen knives are the obvious hazards, you could cut or scrape yourself against table corners, broken glass, sharp tools, and even thorns from bushes in the garden. To avoid getting cuts and scrapes, cover up your skin as much as possible, keep the weather in mind, and pace yourself.
Ankle sprains: In the hurry to make everything happen on time, one overestimated step, and you could slip and fall and sprain your ankles. Walk slowly and mindfully. Make sure your floors aren’t slippery or recently waxed. If there are stairs, keep a count of how many are left to go. Focus on your feet.
Knee pain or injury: Knee injuries are the absolute worst, and it feels like forever until they heal. It will require lots of rest, physiotherapy, and patience. Avoid straining your knees by incorrectly carrying heavy items. It would be helpful to hire a moving dolly for assistance or invest in knee support or braces while you move things around.
If you want your move to go smoothly, without any accidents or lasting physical pain, then you need to be forewarned and forearmed. This means you need to have safety precautions in place before you start your move. Suppose you have many heavy items to move, such as large appliances like refrigerators washing machines, or heavy furniture sets. In that case, you are certainly going to need more manpower to get them into the truck. Do not think for a second that you can do this by yourself. You could injure not only yourself but also people around you, especially children and pets. So here are some moving tips you need to keep in mind when planning out the day of the move.
Plan it out beforehand: Plan every stage of the move before the actual day, right from packing to loading and unloading. If you have professional movers, you have less pressure, but if you’re on your own, you could recruit some helping hands and delegate responsibilities on the day of the move.
Make sure your body is ready: You need to be fit and ready for moving day. If you are a regular gym-goer, make sure you have worked out the muscles you need to move heavy objects. If you aren’t that regular with fitness routines, do some good stretching before and after the move. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and are eating well.
Lift correctly: Learn how to lift correctly. Bend your hips and knees to squat lower, without bending your back forward or backward. Keep the load close to your body, secure it in place and then straighten your legs to lift. If you are unsure of this, don’t risk an injury. Just hire a moving dolly.
Use proper equipment: Professional movers will have their equipment for moving. But if you’re DIY, then you will need dollies for moving large machinery and items, furniture sliders, trolleys, straps and rope, and packing tape at the very least.
Wear appropriate clothing: Cover your skin as much as possible to avoid cuts and scrapes. Wear full-length pants, long sleeve shirts, and gloves if necessary. Keep your feet, elbows, and head protected. Clothe yourself after checking the weather forecast.
Clear the pathway: Before you start the move, make sure the route to the loading truck is empty and clear. Remove all furniture, footwear, rugs, stands, and lamps from the corridor or porch. If you are using stairs, get extra help in moving your things.
Pack & Lift light: Pack in a way that all your boxes do not exceed a certain weight limit. You may have more boxes in quantity but less weight to carry at a time.
Know your limitations: If you know you cannot carry an item of a certain weight, this is not a good time to try it for the first time. If you have pre-existing physical ailments, don’t run the risk of injury. Get professional assistance.
Get help: Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to chip in wherever they can, whether it’s packing, carrying objects to load the truck, or helping plan the day of the move and bifurcate tasks and responsibilities.
Hire professionals: Hiring a professional moving company takes care of a big chunk of this entire endeavor and also saves you the task of carrying anything at all. You could also hire them for specific tasks and take on the others yourself.
Keep kids and pets away: Make sure no children or pets run around where you are moving. Keep them occupied in another section of the house or at daycare.
Weather conditions: If it’s hot, wear non-greasy sun protection; if it’s raining, carry special rain gear and anti-skid footwear. Make sure your vision isn’t compromised. If it’s snowing, clear the pathways of the snow and wear proper clothing to keep your body warm and protected.
Use your common sense: Don’t risk finding out if your guts say it won’t be possible. Carry only what you are confident you can.
First Aid Kit: Keep a first aid kit ready just in case there are some cuts and bruises.
Just in case you might have a mishap while loading or unloading the truck or during the actual move to the new residence, it’s a good idea to prepare a first aid kit. This isn’t just for gnarly accidents but also cuts and scrapes or headaches from dehydration. Apart from any special medication, you’re already taking, here’s a list of things you need to fill your first aid kit with.
Bandages: Pack bandages and band-aids of different sizes and even for different parts of your body. You also get ready-made joint support bandages in case you pull a muscle.
Gauze pads: Gauze pads are a great way to ensure your open cut or scrape heals with protection while the bandaid keeps it in place.
Antibacterial cream: This is ideal for any open cuts or minor wounds. Remember to clean the area first with water or alcohol wipes before applying the cream.
Alcohol wipes: Alcohol wipes sterilize the area that has been wounded or is bleeding and make sure that your cut or scrape does not get infected while it’s exposed. Medical Tape: This is an adhesive tape that you can use to attach bandaging or gauze to your skin where you are wounded. This tape is firm and will keep the bandage in place without irritating your skin.
Scissors: Make sure the scissors are effective and easy to use in an emergency. They should cause you more harm than good when you need them to cut through cloth or bandages.
Tweezers: You can get tweezers at the local supermarket or general store under beauty products.
Splint: Keep a splint handy if you hear a crack in the bone but are a ways away from an ER. This will keep the area secure and as immobile as possible until you get medical assistance.
Hydrocortisone Cream: Hydrocortisone Cream will help reduce any swelling, redness, or itchy sensations on your skin in case you come in contact with any allergens.
Pain relief spray: This is a huge blessing for aches and pains while moving, in case you pull a muscle or strain your arms or legs. It is a quick, temporary fix to get you going until you get more help if needed.
Anything that could potentially cause harm or strain to your body requires extra attention and planning. This is even more important when it comes to moving houses, shifting luggage and being distracted by so many errands simultaneously. If you want your move to go smoothly, these helpful tips will keep you vigilant and careful in handling heavy objects and machinery. The rest will take care of itself. Always remember, your health comes first, no matter what.
Q. What can cause injury while moving and handling?
If you lift without adequately distributing the weight in your body, you are likely to pull a muscle or break a bone. If you don’t watch where you are going, you could risk slipping, tripping, or falling. If you are unaware of your surroundings while packing or handling, you could cut and scrape yourself around jagged or sharp edges, thorns, broken glass, or rusty nails.
In order to prevent injuries during manual handling, you can start by planning how you are going to handle the object in question. Ask yourself where you plan to put it, measure its height and weight to assess if this is a one-person job or not, ask for help and discuss the plan before actually doing it. Wear protective gear over vulnerable parts of your body like your knees, elbows, back, and head. Wear anti-slip gloves and footwear. Keep your skin as covered as possible to avoid any cuts or scrapes. Keep a first aid kit handy, just in case you get hurt.
Q. What is the basic rule on carrying a heavy load?
Keep the object as close to the body as possible for as long as you can, keeping the heaviest part closest. You can also slide it towards your body first before actually lifting it. Do not bend or twist your back or lean sideways when carrying a heavy load, or you will lose balance.
Common injuries faced by people moving and handling their furniture and large appliances without proper planning include back pain, strained knees, cuts and scrapes, broken fingers, toes and hands, and sprains.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.