One of the most common home or workplace injuries is back strain caused by improper lifting. Don’t be one of the “heroes” who try to do too much. Furniture moving straps help you lift heavy items properly and they can make a difficult job easier and safer but there are limitations.
Lift Heavy Items and Move Them Safely
Over the years you have probably overextended your reach and hurt your back trying to lift something that was way too heavy for you. There is a way to lift these items safely.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has numerous documents and guidelines for avoiding strain when lifting heavy objects. They all basically work by keeping weight distributed in your “power zone.” This is the region between mid-thigh and mid-chest where you use your legs, core, arms and back to carry a load.
That’s easy enough when lifting a small box, but much more difficult when moving bulky, oddly shaped items, such as furniture.
OSHA recommends using a moving strap to center the weight and bring the most muscle power to bear. Better yet, grab a strap that lets you work in conjunction with someone else. Double the muscle power and you’ll often avoid muscle strain and cut your move time in half!
Full Back Brace
For especially heavy loads, consider a moving strap that extends past a shoulder connection to distribute the weight across your whole back. Think of a backpack: day packs for light hiking are not made to carry much other than a few small items. However, a serious hiking pack distributes weight evenly allowing your core to work best. That also brings your legs into play, making for an easier lift with less weight placed on the wrong areas.
The most basic furniture moving strap is a length of material with a handle or loop attached on either end. By wrapping the strap underneath the object, you can raise the bulk of its weight into your “power zone” and avoid straining your back or getting off balance. Some versions have an oversized handle, making the strap easy to use. Usually, the strap can be adjusted so it can be properly sized for each job.
A hand-held furniture moving strap is a dramatic improvement over trying to move a bulky object on your own, but it still centers the weight at the end of your arms.
Making sure weight is in the right place is extremely important to avoid strain.
Slipping your arm inside the end loop of the strap allows you to move the weight up your arm, where it sits closer to your core. The weight of furniture is closer to your core and that makes it easier to manage.
A shoulder brace moving strap brings the weight even closer to your core. (Just like a heavy bag is easier to carry on your shoulders then over your forearm.) These are amazing because they leave your hands free so you can keep the furniture balanced.
Movers usually use higher-end models that include padding to make the labor as easy as possible on your shoulders. And like all these straps, these can be used with another person. Simply run the straps in an ‘X’ underneath the object you’re moving.
Best Value for Occasional Use
We hope that you will take advantage of the straps. Years ago, people thought they were unnecessary, but they really worked to get the moving job done quickly.
There are a range of moving straps available. Each one is designed for a particular task. Some moves are not as demanding as others while other moves involve a lot of large furniture.
Take notes on your move. Be honest with yourself and ask: “Does my move involve heavy items that could spell trouble for me physically?” But if you’re only moving one or two items, you may need simple moving straps or a handcart.
Whichever strap solution you choose, be sure to think your way through the process before attempting to move any large or heavy items. If you take your time and use the right tools, you can get the job done safely, quickly, and securely.