Our advice for lifting heavy items

Ballards Removals staff carrying box during house move

Unless you’re using a team of professional movers, it’s likely that you may need to lift some heavy items when you’re moving house.

It’s important to remember that lifting any item can be dangerous – especially if they’re heavy. If you’re not careful, you could end up causing yourself a nasty injury, so read on for our advice and top tips on how to lift heavy items safely. 

Examine the item and your surroundings

Just because a box doesn’t look overly large, doesn’t mean it won’t be heavy. It’s important to check the load before you begin to make sure it’s actually something that you can physically lift. It’s also good to look at the best place on the item itself to lift from – make sure there’s something substantial to hold on to so that you won’t lose grip. 

The object needs to be well balanced, as this will decrease the chances of you getting hurt or dropping the item. There may be some weak spots in the package (such as cardboard boxes) that you’ll need to be aware of so that the item doesn’t give way and break or land on your feet. 

Ensure that you clear any obstacles that could be a trip hazard on your route, and be mindful of any stairs, ramps and uneven ground.

If you’re not sure about any of these, then please do not try and lift the object without help. Sharing a load between two people can make it much easier and much safer, although everyone still needs to be mindful of the advice below.


Make sure you’re in the correct position

You’ll need to be in a proper stance in order to lift without causing injury. To do so, first make sure that your knees are shoulder-width apart – this will help to keep  your balance. 

Make sure that you keep your back straight, then tighten your abdominal muscles, bend your knees, squat down towards the floor and keep looking straight ahead. If you need to, you can put one knee on the floor and keep the other one bent at a right angle. Get a good, strong grasp of the object with both hands and prepare to lift. 

Keep the item close to your body, and use your leg muscles to stand and lift the load up off the floor. Remember to always keep your back as straight as possible throughout the whole process, or you could cause some significant harm. 

Don’t twist your body when moving the object, as this again could cause a strain. Instead, use slow and smooth movements, taking small steps and leading with your hips if you change direction. 

Once you’ve reached where you need to be and you’re ready to put the load down, make sure to return to the squatting position – using your leg muscles rather than your back. It is easy to become complacent when you’ve done most of the work, however many injuries can come from the final few actions. 

Keep your back straight and the item close to your body, before setting it down gently as you reach the ground or another surface (such as a table). 

How are most back injuries caused?

Most back injuries when undertaking heavy lifting can be easily prevented with the right technique and precautions. The majority of these injuries are caused by: 

  • Using an improper lifting technique – remember to bend your knees and keep your back straight
  • Previous back injuries that are not fully healed
  • Holding a heavy object for too long
  • Lifting a weight that is just too heavy for you – this will depend on your weight, height, sex, age and other factors
  • Twisting your upper body whilst holding the weight


Our general top tips for lifting 

  • Don’t try to lift an item by bending over
  • Stretching your body before lifting will help to prevent any muscle pulls 
  • Do not try to lift any overly-heavy items – get help and share the load
  • Never try to lift an object that is above shoulder level
  • Use gloves at all times to help with grip, and reduce hand injuries
  • A back belt can help, but doesn’t always guarantee protection
  • Never lift an object off the ground with straight legs 
  • If pushing or pulling an object, try to reduce the amount of friction

Lifting and carrying heavy items is one of the most high risk elements of moving house and it’s something people often overlook. If you’re planning a move, please be careful of lifting and be sure to follow these important safety tips. There’s no shame in asking for help!

If you’d like some help with your move, then why not hire professional movers to do the hard work for you? 

Here at Ballards, we can do all of the heavy lifting so you don’t have to. Click here for more information and to contact us for a free, no obligation quote. 


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