Every now and then, life puts us in a situation where we must lift heavy objects that weigh more than our body could endure.
This leads to an endless list of potential injuries. Luckily, a correct way to handle weighty items exists, so we could harmlessly do our job or at least reduce the risk of trauma to a minimum.
By following this proper lifting technique you can rearrange, clean or move house without any trouble.
How to Lift Heavy Objects by Yourself
With Fantastic Removals’ easy guide you’ll know the proper way to lift heavy objects even when alone.
- Examine the item you’re about to move. Size doesn’t mean everything. Take some time to check if the load is too heavy and look for comfortable pick up spots. The latter will significantly decrease the chance of you getting hurt. Is the object well balanced? If you’re lifting boxes, is there a risk of something falling off due to cracks or other weak spots? Don’t forget – there’s no shame in asking for help.
- Check your surroundings and choose a safe route. Clear any obstacles that stand in your way to avoid tripping and be mindful of stairs and uneven floors.
- Get in position. The key lies in preparation and, in our case – a proper stance. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight, tighten your abdominal muscles, bend your knees, squat down to the floor and look straight ahead. If needed, put one knee on the floor and your other knee in front of you, bent at a right angle (like a knight). Get a good grasp of the load with both hands and get ready for lifting.
- Lift & Carry. Keep the item close to your body and use your leg muscles to stand up and lift the load off the floor. Your back should remain straight throughout the process. Use slow and smooth moves and do not twist your body when moving the object. Use your feet to change direction and take small steps. Lead with your hips as you change direction. As you move, keep your shoulders in line with your hips.
- Drop the load. Once you have reached your destination and it’s time to put the object down, return to the squatting position, using only your leg muscles (not back). Keep your back straight, hold the item close to your body and set it down gently as you reach the ground (or other surface).
How to Lift Heavy Objects with Pulleys
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Pulleys are the best form of help you can get when it comes to lifting heavy objects. They’re a system of one or more wheels with a looped rope around them that uses the laws of physics to distribute weight and make it easier to lift.
- Gather the materials for your system. To make your own pulleys system, you need, at least one pulley, lifting slings, rope, working gloves, barricades.
- Estimate the load of your heavy object. As a safety precaution, you need to get lifting straps needed for more than twice the object’s weight.
- Attach the lifting straps to the object. Make sure it’s well rigged and won’t slip off.
- Calculate the number of pulleys required. The more pulleys, the easier for you (just more attachments needed). The velocity decreases and the mechanical advantage increases with each new pulley.
- Place the top pulley above the object’s final destination. This way, it will swing there by itself. Make sure there’s nice open space around the trajectory just in case.
- Test the load. If one pulley is not enough for you to push the system into gear, you might need a few more.
How to Lift Heavy Objects Upstairs (and down)
Pulleys are the best way to lift heavy objects upstairs, but if you don’t have the equipment, and instead have a hand truck, here’s what to do.
- Slide the downside under your heavy object.
- Strap the object securely to the side of the hand truck, and test just in case it’s well stabilized.
- Tilt the hand truck and balance the weight on the wheels.
- Walk backward when going up stairs.
- Walk forward when going downstairs.
General Heavy Lifting Advice
- Never lift an item by bending over.
- Never lift an object above shoulder level.
- Stretching your legs and back helps your body warm up for the task.
- Do not lift super heavy items by yourself, call for help.
- Find and use a dolly.
- Use working gloves all the time.
- Do not rely entirely on back belts for protection, it’s not guaranteed.