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The independent voice of the global moving industry

Put your back into it

Feb 13, 2018

There are some things we appreciate more than others: getting a good WiFi signal is always welcome; a polite child; an empty road.  Other things we take for granted: the lights work; air travel; and our own good health. 

The last one is only true of course if we are lucky enough to have it.  If we do not, we would trade anything to have it back.  My family was struck this week by an accident that brought this very much closer to home.  My daughter, Faye, is a powerlifter.  She represents Great Britain and we are all very proud of her.  Some of you will have met her as she runs the Strongest Mover contest at The Movers and Storers Show. 

She was competing in the British championships last week when a minor slip caused her an injury.  You don’t want to slip while you have 150kg on your shoulders!  The result: she can hardly walk, is in constant pain and won’t be training (let alone competing) for some considerable time.  She’ll be OK.  She always is and has been through much worse in her short life.  But oh! how life changes. 

I mention it in this column purely because it’s an occupational hazard in the moving world just as in strength sports.  I know everyone is trained in manual handling, but nobody has the training Faye has and even she came a cropper.  The worst injuries are usually not caused by wear and tear, they are acute.  Nor do porters have to be lifting Olympic-class weights.  A few kilos, picked up in a hurry, with the wrong twist, can cause a debilitating injury that will put someone in their bed for weeks.  It’s a disaster for them and for their employers too. 

Of course, accidents happen, and I have no advice to give other than what you already know. But I do think we can sometimes expect more of people than they should be required to give.  The more they demonstrate their abilities, the more we push them.  “Jim’s OK, he’s a strong as an ox.”  Maybe he is, but he’s vulnerable too.  Superhumans are just for the movies. 

People push themselves too, maybe to earn more, maybe out of pride or competition.  It can work in the short term but not forever.  Everyone has their breaking point and it’s a very bad idea all round to push people until they reach it. 

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