How to avoid getting injured when moving home

Couple injured moving sofa

Moving home can be a physically grueling process that carries a significant, often underestimated risk of injury. The following advice can reduce the risk of injury to you and your family when moving home.

Common moving injuries

Back injuries

Carrying heavy and awkward objects, often through difficult and hazardous spaces, puts the back of even the fittest person at risk. Injuries like pulled muscles, ligament damage and slipped and herniated disks are are common and can leave the victim in serious pain and unable to work.

Carrying heavy and awkward objects, often through difficult and hazardous spaces, puts the back of even the fittest person at risk. Injuries like pulled muscles, ligament damage and slipped and herniated disks are are common and can leave the victim in serious pain and unable to work.

Completely Moved would always recommend you seek at least enough professional help with your move to avoid over exertion. Inevitably you will end up lifting things even if you do instruct a professional moving firm.

The old adage ‘Lift with your knees’ is still the best advice. Squatting down and lifting with a straight back prevents putting a strain on the back. Under no circumstances should you attempt to lift anything with your waist bent.

If you think you are going to be lifting a lot of heavy objects it may be an idea to wear a back brace for added support.

Knee Injuries

Lifting correctly means relieving stress on the back and transferring it to the knees. Although knee injuries are less likely they are still not uncommon.

The best advice to avoid knee injury is to reduce the amount of lifting you need to do. Lifting less, packing lighter boxes, getting more people to assist where necessary will all help.

Another great idea is to purchase some furniture sliders so you can slide rather than lift heavy objects such as sofas. These are essentially super slippery pads that enable you to push often heavy objects across the floor as though they are on ice.

Ankles

Ankle injuries usually result from trip hazards, slippery surfaces and stairs.

To minimise the risk we advise:

  • wearing footwear with good ankle support
  • checking that the path you plan to carry objects over is clear and free of trip hazards such as training cables
  • Make sure there are no slippery surfaces such as liquid spills
  • Get additional manpower when carrying heavy objects such as sofas and mattresses up or down stairs.

Minimising the risks

Pack smart

There are a number of things you can do when packing boxes to reduce the strain when packing boxes:

There are a number of things you can do when packing boxes to reduce the strain when packing boxes:

  • Placing empty boxes on a table or work surface will dramatically reduce the number of times you have to bend down.
  • Placing heavier items at the bottom of boxes not only reduces the risk of damage to the contents, it lowers the centre of gravity making the box easier to carry and less prone to toppling.
  • Put heavier items in smaller boxes. Don’t fill large boxes to the top with books as they will be much heavier than you think.
  • Robust plastic crates are ideal as they are strong and will not collapses during the move. They are also much easier and safer to stack. They are quicker to pack as there is no need to tape them closed at the top. Crates are usually very cost effective to rent for a few weeks leading up to your move.

Stacking boxes before the big day

  • Stack boxes against a wall if possible with the heavier ones at the bottom and lighter ones at the to avoid blocking corridors and don’t stack boxes at the top or bottom of staircases
  • Avoid blocking corridors and don’t stack boxes at the top or bottom of staircases

Remove trip hazards

  • Make sure there are no objects left on stairs or on the floor on landings and hallways.
  • Use cable ties to secure any dangling cables from appliances so they do not get under your feet when you carry them
  • Ideally, use a dedicated room for storing boxes. Keep the door closed to prevent children from climbing on top of them risking injury

Wear suitable protective gear

  • Gloves will prevent cuts and grazes to your hands, especially if a mirror or picture gets broken. Some gloves will also help with gripping slippery items Wear sensible clothes i.e. avoid high heels and dresses etc.
  • Use the proper equipment
  • Pack everything in strong boxes or crates
  • Use wide high tack sticky tape to prevent boxes opening when being carried
  • Source a folding truck trolley to help carry boxes
  • Use furniture sliders to avoid having to lift heavy furniture
  • If you rent a van make sure it has a tail lift
  • Wear a back brace, knee pads and protective gloves
  • Use securing straps to stop objects falling over in transit

Following the above advice should reduce the likelihood of physical injury and help you into your new home without a hitch.