Safety First! Injury Prevention and Safety Tips for Moving
Hey, we get it – hiring movers to transport your goods to a new home or storage can definitely be expensive. For many of us, finding the right mover at the right price can seem like just another hassle in a long list of Moving Day to-do’s. So, understandably, you might be planning to take care of this step on your own, with a little help from friends and family. After all, cheaper to rent or even borrow a truck, right?
Well, if you’ve made your big move by yourself, and you’ve come out of it unscathed, consider yourself lucky! Like many other major activities, success can depend on safety and common sense. To this aim, here are some basic tips to help you move and store your items injury-free.
Don’t hurt your back!
You’ll only ever have one spine, so take a few simple precautions to avoid unnecessary back strain:
Choose a storage unit with a swing door
Many storage facilities have either swing doors or roll-up, garage-style doors, or both. The advantage of a swing door is the fact that you don’t have to bend to open it, since it just opens forward as a regular door.
Use a reacher tool
If you’ve already suffered from back injury or similar strains, a reaching tool can grab items so you don’t have to bend or crouch. This can be handy for packing in harder to access places, like bottom drawers and shelves or ground-level storage.
Try a forearm forklift
This moving accessory is brilliant. By using leverage, you can take the weight off lifting items with this safe, simple pair of arm straps. Be your own forklift!
Wear a back brace
A good old safety mainstay that eases back strain – warehouse personnel and order pickers use this for a reason!
Squat from the knees when picking things up
Unless you’ve developed a habit of doing this, you’re probably still bending at the waist when you pick things up. But doing so adds the weight of your torso to the weight of the object being lifted, increasing back stress. So assume a squatting position before lifting items, especially the heavy ones, and you’re less likely to add “chiropractor” to the expense list.
Never overload boxes
It can be tempting to cram as much stuff into a single box as possible, just to save room. On the down side, this is a sure-fire risk-factor for injury or damage. If you have heavy items, like tools or books, put them in several smaller boxes to evenly distribute their weight. Otherwise, overloaded boxes can break open, and are simply too awkward and unwieldy to carry safely.
Even heavy-duty hand trucks and dollies are very affordable nowadays, and are well-worth it. If you don’t bring your own, self-storage facilities often have dollies that you are able to use on site to help to help you transport multiple items in one go.
Get a good grip!
When boxes drop out of your hands, you run the risk of damaging the contents – not to mention unpleasant cuts and bruises, or even a fracture.
Trim nails short
Just as they interfere with typing, long nails can also impede your ability to grip a bulky item firmly. And with all the labour-intensive sweat work going on during the move, let’s face it, long nails are likely to become casualties during this process.
Not the chic leather kind – serious work gloves! Usually made out of sturdy cotton, these gloves also have rubber hand-grips to ensure non-slip handling of any item. They’ll protect you from needless cuts and scrapes, as well as from filth and dust that deposits onto your furniture and boxes, once they leave the relative cleanliness of the home for the floor of a truck.
Apply moisturizer beforehand
This may sound weird. But in actuality, glove fabrics and the storage facility’s cooler temperatures can leech the moisture and oils from your hands. This leaves them more vulnerable to incurring open cuts while you’re packing, moving, and stacking. So don’t pack up all the hand lotion just yet!
Bring hand sanitizer
Scenario: it’s spring, you’re moving a drawer full of items, and a strong gust of wind suddenly blows something onto the ground. It lands in a muddy puddle. You have to fish it out. Gross.
Wear close-toed or safety shoes
Pay close attention to this tip, even if it’s a 40-degree heatwave outside. Don’t find out the hard way that sandals are a no-no when you’re unloading your solid oak bookcase, and somehow it accidentally falls right on your foot.
Be kind to your eyes
Ever heard the old wives’ tale “reading in the dark can make you go blind”? Actually, it’s proven to be something of a myth (according to popular science, the worst you’ll probably get is a headache). But nevertheless, trying to organize your storage unit in the dark is still very annoying.
Bring a flashlight
Be aware that the lighting available in the interior of storage units may vary in terms of brightness or intensity, so a flashlight will certainly come in handy just in case. This is especially true if you might need to search the interior of your boxes and bins or read documents.
Choose brightly-coloured or fluorescent labels
Being highly visible, these stand out better in low lighting, so that you can find the right box minus the eye strain.
Use large-print box labels
Easier to read, which just makes your boxes and bins that much easier to identify.
Print clearly and legibly on labels and checklists
This may seem obvious, but if you’re writing the labels yourself, make sure that they’re clearly written. It can cut down on a lot of confusion, which means you won’t have to start tearing open a bunch of boxes later on to try and figure out what’s even in them.
As a further note, some of the safety accessories mentioned in this article are available at Public Storage and can be viewed online, to help you plan ahead. By taking just a few extra precautions, instead of leaving it to chance, both you and your goods are sure to survive the move safe and sound!