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Lifting Heavy Objects
You have probably found yourself having to lift heavy objects at work or home at one point or another. When the burden exceeds around 23 kilograms, this is considered heavy lifting. This kind of lifting requires proper lifting techniques due to several reasons. Lifting heavy objects with poor form can result in muscular strains, tears, major back issues, joint discomfort, and other complications.
These injuries might take weeks, if not months, to recover from completely. Therefore, if you're lifting heavy objects or doing strength exercises, practising proper lifting techniques is critical to your overall health. It not only works the muscle groups you want to improve but also minimises the chance of both acute as well as long-term back issues. And if you are in the moving industry, you undoubtedly have to practise proper lifting techniques to ensure that you can keep doing your job effectively.
How To Lift Heavy Objects Correctly
Proper form while lifting heavy objects yields greater results, reduces injury, and helps your muscles push harder to develop total strength. It is not advisable to lift a heavy object above your shoulder level. Moreover, when attempting to raise something heavy off the floor, avoid wearing clothing that is too tight.
Here is a list of some more tips to remember when you find yourself lifting a heavy object:
Inspect Whatever You Are Lifting
No matter how little the product or package, always correctly inspect it before attempting to lift it. Check to determine if the weight is something you can lift. Kneel in front of the object, then try to move it left to right, then backwards and forward to see whether it's too heavy for you.
You'll be able to tell how weighty an item is by simply dragging it. If you can't readily push or move the thing, it's likely heavy. If an object is too heavy to carry, you could just ask for assistance or wait till someone can assist you instead of doing it alone.
Examine Your Path
How far do you need to carry the object? Do you have to lift it up or down a flight of stairs? Carrying a heavy item while navigating stairs might make it a more risky and challenging undertaking. Therefore, inspect your path to determine if there are any potential tripping hazards on your way. You should move any objects on the floor, including children's toys and furniture, ahead of time so that you can carry the item securely. This reduces the chances of stumbling and hurting yourself.
Determine if the Load is Solid or Liquid
While solids do not move when transported, the weight might change when lifting a container containing a liquid. In the event that you cannot see within the container to determine its form, gently shake it to figure out whether it is in liquid form. If the package indeed has a liquid in it, make sure not to tilt or lean it while carrying it.
Moreover, before lifting important things, inspect them for any loose or moving elements. These could fall off or alter the distribution of weight.
Lift One of the Item's Corners to Gauge Its Weight
Kneel beside your item and grasp the corner using both hands, then lift the item such that one corner is entirely off the ground. You can estimate the object's entire weight by raising its corner and assessing if you can actually lift it without help. Do not try to lift the whole thing if you are unable to raise the corner by yourself.
When attempting to raise a tall item, such as a bookcase, first tilt it onto its lengthiest side to make the weight simpler to carry.
Have Your Feet at Shoulder-Width Apart in Front of the Item
Place yourself roughly 30 cm away from the heavy object. Then, maintain about a 30 centimetres width that is equal to or slightly broader than your shoulder breadth. Now, place one foot slightly ahead of the other, parallel to the side of the thing you intend to raise. When raising an oblong item, like a table, stand on one of the longest sides to evenly redistribute the weight.
When Lifting, Squat and Keep Your Back Upright
As you carefully drop your body to the ground, ensure that you keep your knees bent. Contract your abs when you squat to assist in keeping your body straight as well as your lower back supported. Maintain your centre of gravity by keeping your knees bent during the movement. To lift an item on the floor, bend down as much as you can to have the best grip.
Grab the Item, Dividing the Weight Equally in Your Hands
Look for steady handholds which you can readily grasp. Once you do, hold the thing towards the base or at its heaviest place to manage the weight efficiently. Take a firm grasp on the item to ensure that it will not fall out of your grip as you move it. If you need to obtain a better grip on the heavy item, you can put on work gloves.
For a table, you should first hold it from the longest side. Then, hang on to the table-top, including the box apron beneath. To maintain the weight, keep your arms shoulder-width apart. If the object contains handles, make use of them.
Lift as Close to Your Body as Possible
If you hold the item closer to your body instead of at the limit of your reach, you will be a stronger and steadier lifter. Maintain a firm grip on the thing you're lifting; ensure that you keep it centred near your body.
Tighten Your Stomach Muscles
If you tighten your stomach muscles, you will keep your back in a healthy raising position, thus preventing severe stress on your spine.
Keep a Straight Back While Lifting Heavy Items with Your Legs
As you straighten your legs, hug the item securely to your chest. Hold as much of the weight as you can with your legs alone. While raising the item, avoid arching or bending your back, as this might result in pain. Continue to lift the item until you are standing.
If you begin raising the item but cannot resume a standing posture, set it down and seek help. If you're struggling to raise the thing and you are alone, just don't carry it until you can get another person to assist you.
Move Gently When Transporting the Heavy Object
To maintain your balance, keep your legs slightly bent. Take tiny steps to avoid losing control of the item. Instead of glancing down at it, keep your eyes focused in front of you. Slide your feet till you are looking in the right direction when you need to make a turn.
While lifting the item, avoid shifting your body. If you must carry it for a long trip, take a little break at the mid-point to rest and re-adjust your grasp. If possible, place the thing around waist level so that you can easily pick it up again.
To Place the Heavy Object Down, Bend Your Knees
When you get to your destination, keep your back straight and your knees bent into a squat. Before releasing the object, be sure the base of the item is wholly in touch with the floor. Set cartons at waist height so that you won't have to bend down to unload them.
The Body's Reactions To Heavy Lifting
With time you might notice that all the heavy pushing, tugging, and lifting is straining your body, particularly your back. That's most likely because you've been doing the heavy lifting incorrectly all along. Do not overlook your back discomfort as it might lead to severe complications. You must then try to understand what you are doing poorly and how to move heavy items properly.
Remember that lifting heavy objects can have significant health repercussions if not done correctly, no matter how fit you are. Musculoskeletal injuries can occur while lifting or transporting heavy goods. These comprise sprains, twists, and other damages that might be permanent in some cases. If you practice the wrong lifting practices, the chance of injuries when carrying heavy loads increases considerably.
Preserve your overall health and personal well-being, and minimise injuries that might negatively impact the quality of your life in the long run. In short, when lifting heavy goods, be sure you're doing it carefully and correctly.
Back Belts Do Not Reduce Injury Risk
You will find that back supports and back belts are now often used by many individuals who engage in jobs that demand a lot of heavy lifting. Nevertheless, studies have shown that they do not reduce the risk of an injury occurring. Therefore, do not invest in either, thinking that it will be efficient in reducing instances of injury. The only way around injuries is practising proper lifting techniques, as discussed above.
You Can Use Lifting Aids At Special Instances
Using Moving Dollies to Lift Heavy Objects
If you want to move bulky objects, use a moving dolly as they enable you to do so efficiently. To use it, place the moving dolly's lip beneath the item. Then, strap the item to the dolly to keep it from falling off. To raise the item, tilt the dolly backwards towards you.
Roll the item to the desired location and pull the bottom out. If you are unable to tilt the item back on your own, get assistance. Moving dollies are available for hire at most hardware shops.
Using Shoulder Dollies to Lift Heavy Objects
If you are operating with a friend, use a shoulder dolly to lift heavier goods. Shoulder dollies are straps worn by two persons that allow them to transport a large object between them. Drape the strap over your head, forming an X in the centre of your back and positioning the metal clasp at waist height.
Both of you should be on either side of the item and place the hoisting strap below. Hold both sides of the item and raise it with both legs at the appropriate time. Shoulder dollies are available for purchase online. Shoulder dollies are ideal for moving heavy and bulky items like bookshelves or desks.
Struggling To Move Your Heavy Objects?
Even if you do not specialise in moving objects, you might find that you are periodically charged with moving a bulky object at least once in your life. Therefore, knowing how to do so correctly is critical to avoid a painful, lingering back injury and other heavy lifting-related injuries.
Moving a daughter or son into a college dorm, dragging Christmas decorations out from the attic, or relocating heavy furniture yourself in your house all require a few precautions. But if the task is way beyond your capability, then have a professional removalist to help you out.