There is nothing wrong in wanting to save money. Especially if it seems like on jobs that can be handled by us. One of the common examples is moving and all the tasks that are linked with it. Most people prefer packing and even loading and unloading done by them as removalists charge for such jobs and it seems tempting to save the amount by just getting a few friends to join in and lend a helping hand.
But how much of a good idea is it really? Is it really worth saving the money as opposed to the risks you will be ditching by hiring professional help? Yes there are potential risks involved in carrying heavy objects when you are a regular person not-so-trained or even familiar with lifting weights.
Also lifting weights is one thing and lifting heavy objects of all sorts (while moving an entire household) is another. This being said, the inability of a person is not the only point. Not every object is designed to be carried or carried the same way. When not taken under serious consideration heavy lifting while moving, can be injurious to health to the person moving and family and friends alike.
Moving is an occasion where as soon as the packing begins lifting gets involved too. When one carton is ready and packed it’s time to get it aside and make room for already out of order house. People of the house already get involved in lifting and handling of heavy and light boxes way before the day they actually move.
For elderly, women with infants, people having drinking or smoking problems and in general physically incompetent fellows just the beginning activities of preparing for a move are enough to cause perpetuating back or knee pain. In addition minor cuts and bruises can never be surely dismissed with so much out of the place stuff in a house which usually for middle class families is generally not a large one. You never know which month of the year you would probably have to move and thus the weather can be unpredictable.
What removalists can do in situations like these is they can set up effective plans as these are the situations they get to work with on general basis. These plans set limit for manual handling and they are well equipped with equipment that aids lifting. Not just removalists bring their own equipment they are also well-trained regarding how to use those.
In order to fully understand what kind of health risks can be involved while moving we must first browse in detail what kind of activities are involved while moving and in what ways they might affect our bodies.
Hand-operated or Physical Handling
Moving or transferring stuff from one point to the other, either by a single person or multiple fellows. While doing so, following things are to be done; taking up, carrying, placing back down (or up). Additionally pushing, pulling or carrying stuff up a certain distance is involved too.
Effects of manual handling on one’s health
Carrying and moving stuff can be tiresome after a while and if not rested well pain or even general fatigue can convert into persistent ache.
Back, neck, shoulders and arms generally experience fatigue. Another set of effects of manual handling can be cuts and bruises or even fractures resulting out of some unpleasant unexpected incident. Muscles or bones both are equally prone to such accidents.
People who are physically incompetent due to any of the reasons either age factor, women who just gave birth, smokers, drinkers or underweight fellows can come up against a situation where lifting heavy or light objects repetitively, even for a few days can damage their muscles or create bone problems.
Most susceptible body parts in such cases are;
-Neck, shoulder and arms.
-legs and any joints involved
-upper and lower back issues
Most frequently occurring issues due to lifting objects while moving involve lower back. Up to what extent it is important to avoid such problems to occur in the first place? Do not underestimate because consequences in some cases may last for the rest of the life. A person with badly affected lower back may not perform a wide array of activities for the rest of his or her life and such limiting situation is worth any cost to be avoided.
Why the back?
In the natural and neutral posture the back has four curves. The set of muscles and joints receive the least exertion when a person is in upright position. That is the reason why so emphasis is put on maintaining the correct posture even in daily routine life.
When the load has to be handled manually correct posture should be maintained as much as possible and the load must be drawn as close to the body as possible. This keeps the bending, twisting and turning of the back as low as possible.
What adds danger to the physical load lifting?
Several factors add up the risk factors of physical load lifting. These factors in general add to the injuries involving back. Four factors can be roughly outlined;
-The job nature
-The person himself/herself
Goods or cargo or load that a person or persons lift, presents challenges to the lifter in its own way.
From furniture to a piano to the refrigerator a home has many things that can be challenging to lift. There is not pinpointed weight limit to be physically lifted but generally 20-25 kg of weight is considered challenging. Load even lighter than 20-25kg can become challenging when has to be replaced several times a day like while moving. Pushing and pulling can be alternative to lifting but that is easier said than done with most cases.
As mentioned earlier, to minimize the strain on the body while lifting the load must be grasped as close to the body as possible. The larger the size of the object being lifted the harder it is to be grasped. If it is too wide a person must stretch out his or her arms to get a hold. The more you stretch out your arms the less force you can exert and weaker gets the grasp. Not only that, but muscles tire out far more quickly when holding a load with stretched out arms.
Difficult to grasp
But heavy objects are not necessarily large too. And large objects don’t always have to be heavy but difficulty in lifting can still exist if there are no proper handles or gripping aid. For example a bed mattress that lacks any loops or handle on sides is challenging to move from one place to another. The weight is not the only issue in this case; the mattress is a large object and can be difficult to get a hold of, even for short distances if there are no lifting aids attached.
Anything having sharp corners or edges or containing any dangerous material is again hazardous to handle or lifted and presents a great deal of danger to people carrying any such object in case of collision.
Unstable or wobbly objects
For example anything that contains any sort of liquid is hard to carry because its center of gravity doesn’t stay still causing the lifters to exert extra effort to keep the object held as firmly as possible. Additionally it presents the lifters with the danger of losing their balance along with the wobbly load.
Out of reach objects
In an attempt to lift or carry an object must first be approached and if it is placed someplace that is difficult to reach injury risks increase because arms and spine all become more prone to twisting and bending while going after something heavy which is out of easy reach too.
Nature of the job
Now, moving and packing have an obvious job nature, carrying objects from one place to another, small and big all kinds of stuff. What challenge this kind of work presents to increased injury chances is;
Too much work
For a person having his or hands already full an additional work load of packing and moving can be exhausting. A person not well-rested can cause damage to his or her body because of the insufficient recovery time. If there is too short period available for packing and moving, removalists are the best options because an imposed increased speed while carrying and loading can be injurious to muscles and skeletal system.
Lack of space and odd postures
Emptying junk out of garage and attic that are jam packed presents extra challenge of making way through narrow spaces and difficult to reach objects. Such lack of space or overloaded situation exerts extra challenge on a person to bend and twist and move through and carry around stuff. The more twisting and turning involved more are the chances to twist an ankle or wrist and the more repeatedly a person has to process through such space the more strenuous it gets.
Work is not only done by muscles that get involved in movement but also those muscles are working to maintain the posture. For example when we reach for a box lets’ say, our arms stretch out while the legs stay still. But that doesn’t mean leg muscles aren’t working. They are maintaining the balance and carrying weight in their own way. On the other hand when we successfully lift a box we may start walking while holding it. This time the arms stay still and legs move. But sets of muscles at both sites keep working in each case in their own way.
The working conditions and surroundings play an important role in the safety of a task. What may the surroundings add to the injury risks?
Lack of space gives rise to odd body postures and the load of materials carried can cause a person to trip or lose balance.
Uneven or unstable floor
If the floor is slippery, uneven, load moving involves lots of stairs the chances of tripping increase. If a person carrying load steps over a skate board by accident, his or her chances of getting injured are almost hundred percent.
Too hot or too cold temperatures make the working conditions hard. High humidity causes sweating that leads to exhaustion quickly. Chances of getting dehydrated increase too. If the house is not well-ventilated that gives rise to similar temperature and humidity issues. Too cold, and numb hand and feet makes it difficult to carry stuff around.
Poor lighting and decreased visibility are sure factors increasing risk of injury.
The person him/herself
The individual involved in the moving, carrying and loading activities him or herself add the risk of the injury factors too.
- Familiarity, past experience or training or lack of it regarding carrying weights, add to the injuries and strains
- Age; fellows thirty and above experience more injuries and strains with activities like moving
- Physical appearance; that is height, weight and overall strength of a person counts too. For example too fat or too thin people are more likely to experience back problems when involved with lifting activities
- Lifestyle conditions; those who smoke or drink over the healthier limits is more prone to injuries.
- History of injuries or back problems can cause the re-occurrence of such issues from the past.
- Choice regarding the personal safety clothing items and equipment like shoes play a vital role in the increase or decrease of injury risks.
While hiring a removalist may look like an unnecessary expenditure to some, there are solid reasons why they should consider it. Removalists are equipped with heavy lifting tools. Then they are trained about using those equipments and other safety measures that ensure their safety as well as the well being of the goods involved.
Even then there is no fool proof guarantee that they might not get into a mishap at all why should you risk your health and well-being when there are people out there who can take care of it. As far as the charges are concerned they might be lowered if you leave the big load for them and do the loading job partially with them helping with the smaller stuff.
To be extra sure whether or not to invest on hiring removalists try the following:
- Assess thoroughly all the potential risks regarding health and safety related to all the activities that would be involved in each step from packing to loading and unloading.
- Is there anything that can be done (0ther than hiring removalists) to subtract or minimize the risk factors for those who will be doing the moving job (you, friends, family members).
- What parts of the job are more likely to cause the injury and are there any possible preventive measures?
- Thoroughly assess the house you’ll be packing from, the surroundings and the destination home and its surrounding.
- Assess all the people you are considering to get involved in the moving process.
- Review the precautionary measure you are planning and check if they’ll be enough and effective as planned or not
Honest answers to all above questions will help you estimate what can be more costly in the future, doing the job yourself or hiring professional removalists?