Brett Beutler - Owner
I have been in the moving industry for a long time. I have seen lots of injuries and experienced some myself. I want to share what has worked for me.
Back Injuries - So I hurt my back on a move job in 2012. I had been moving all day and my back was feeling weak or tired. I lifted a box off the ground that was a little too heavy. I should have asked for help lifting it, but I liked to be the toughest guy and lift everything heavy by myself. I felt a nerve pinch in my back and I tried to work through the pain. The pain got worse and worse. The pain got so bad I had to crawl to my car. I couldn't move for about 3 days. It is 8 years later and It is very easy to re-injure my back. You only have one back and so take care of it. The following steps have helped me.
- Warm-up before a move - If you have time try to go on a 10-minute walk then slow jog before a job. This loosens you up and warms up your back. Then take a second to stretch out your hamstrings a little. I do this before I even get in the car to drive to a move job.
- Warm-up more - Once you arrive at the move, to a few slow bends at the hips to warm up your lower back.
- Start small - Don't go in and grab the heaviest things in the room. Work your way up to the heavier items. If I am moving a piano, for example, I will at least move the piano bench and some other light things before attempting the piano. It is is a house move, then line the walls with some boxes before bringing in any furniture.
- Good habits - Practice good form and it will become second nature. Try to lift with a flat back, bent knees, lift close to your body, and look forward and not down. Sometimes you might have to try different ways of holding something so that you aren't lifting with bad form. This might be using straps, dollies, or calling me to send more guys. I don't want anyone getting hurt.
- Helping each other - It is important when lifting furniture to help the other guy. For example, when using forearm straps and going upstairs, the guy on the downstairs side needs to extend his arms or set up lower on the straps so the upstairs guy isn't bent way over. Sometimes you might also have to grab an item different or change your hold to prevent a dangerous angle. Be conscious of the other mover that is carrying with you and try to keep them safe as well. Safety is a team effort.
- Listen to your body - Your body will tell you when you are tired or if a muscle is being overworked. Try to adjust how you are doing things to avoid injury. If you feel a nerve pinch and you know you are hurt, then call me and we will find you a replacement.
- Work out - Most back injuries are a result of a weak core and overly tight tendons. Take time in your week to strengthen your core which includes abs, glutes, and the hip stabilizer muscles. Be sure to warm-up before any workout, then workout, then stretch immediately after your workout. Stretch your legs and hips.
Hopefully, by doing the things in the links above and in my 7 tips, you can avoid every hurting your back.
Slipping & Falling - We live in snow country and with that comes the danger of slipping and falling. Try these tips to avoid slipping and falling.
- Back up truck- Try to get the truck as close as you can to the entrance to a storage unit or house to eliminate walking across the slippery ground. Be sure to also angle the truck or back it up so the angle of the ramp isn't as steep when it is slick out.
- Truck ramp- Lay a moving blanket down on the ramp. The uhaul blankets work great when the ramp gets snowy or wet. Just lay them down on the ramp and it will give you lots more traction. If it gets snowy, then shake it off and lay it back down. Overlap the blankets on longer ramps so that you won't trip over it while carrying furniture.
- Customers - Customers can be held responsible for providing a safe environment to work. Use their shovels or salt to clear the ground. You also can ask them for help clearing ice or snow so that you dont slip and get hurt or drop any of their furniture. Most customers, under those circumstances, are happy to help.
- Two-Man - Truck floors and ramps get really slick and so dont feel bad having two guys on a dolly to help control the speed on a ramp. You also can carry an item vs dolly it if that is safer. At times it will be better to go off the back of the truck instead of using the ramp if it is slick or if the items are really heavy like a gun safe.
- Be Smart - Look around you and come up with solutions to solve unsafe factors in a job. There are lots of things you can do before a move starts to make the move safe.
Final steps - I have seen injuries from all of the following things.
- Wear good shoes- Athletic and trail running shoes have the best grip. A good pair of grippy shoes is worth your saftey.
- Water & Salt- Moving is really hard work. Make sure you bring water to every job. You might end up at a storage unit with no water and heat exhaustion is right behind you. Drink lots of water and if you sweat a lot then think of bringing chips or a drink with electrolites.
- Take time to eat- If you run out of fuel and energy, then your form gets worse and you are more prone to injury. Don't bank on every customer supplying lunch or dinner and so take a food break. You wont regret having the extra energy.
- Opening Tiers- When opening a new tier in a truck, always have a second mover there with you. Sometimes a load shifts in transit and so cutting a rope, releasing a ratchet, or peeling a mattress off the load can result in a lot of weight tipping your way. Having two people there will keep you from getting squished.
- Watch for the ramp- I have seen guys who have fallen off the ramp. Both people carrying a furniture item need to be conscious of where a ledge is and the ramp so that no one goes over the edge.
- Door jams - Door jams are really good at jamming fingers and knuckles. So when someone is going through a doorway be sure to slow down a bit so you don't kill your hands on a door knob or on the door jam edge. This also prevents damaging furniture.
- Mirror each other- When you pick up a piece of furniture you should always pick it up the same way and then put it down in reverse of how you picked it up. This will keep your fingers from getting squished or tipping the drawers out of a dresser.
- When carrying upholstered furniture be aware of staples. If you slide your hands along an edge with staples you are going to slice yourself open.
- Good communication- Watch each other's backs and talk through everything. One of you can using see something the other person can't. So lift on three, push when they say push, say slow down here, lift up your end over there, you have a step coming up, drop a little lower for that door, and so on. Talking will keep you both safe and make every job smoother and every tip a little bigger.
- Heavy Dollying- When using a hand truck or dolly on a ramp with heavier loads, go down the ramp forward with the load in front of you so it doesnt crush you. When going up the ramp you want to go backwards and pull the load up the ramp. Pulling will also give you better traction.
Safe moving everyone!!!