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Proper Lifting Techniques while loading and unloading gear...


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Being a part of the Safety Team on my job, I witness multiple back injuries each and every year by employees failing to use precautions when lifting heavy or awkward items.

 

Sometimes it is a result of pure negligence, other times it's ignorance to proper procedures in lifting safely. Then there are times when a guy wants to show out for chicks to prove he is a He-Man. Of course, there are always the times where one does not have available help and they try to lift something beyond their own strength and ability rather than waiting or calling for assistance.

 

Do you guys take precautionary measures to protect you back and other body parts while loading and unloading gear; or anything else for that matter?

 

Do you have extra hands to help out with heavy or awkward items, and the patience to wait for assistance?

 

Do you have special devices that make your gear more mobile, such as dollies, roller racks, hydrallics, and other devices?

 

I thought this would be an interesting question to present.

 

The contractors working on my home brought this to mind... There were 3 guys working on the installation of the windows. Two are working together, while using proper lifting techniques. The third, the actual contractor himself, starts to pick up a double hung window by himself and I offered to assist. He insisted that he was fine and proceeded to lift each window that he moved by himself while the other two worked as a team. Both of the other guys just looked at him like he was crazy when he turned down the offer for help. One even made the statement that the guy was showing out for me.

 

Make take on this is......

 

When a man is trying to impress people, especially ladies, by refusing to accept assistance on projects that NEED assistance; they get an adverse reaction as far as making a good impression. Instead I view his He-Man attitude as foolish behavior that could possibly land him the lifestyle of an invalid of which can drain a companion of all their energy in tending to them. I'd much rather a man show a bit of weakness and ask for help... it takes a stronger man to swallow his pride and protect his health.

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Well, you're right on again, Ani. It's the old "macho" thing. Although some of it could be politeness ("I don't want to burden the customer")...but, mix these two together and you've got an equation for back problems or a hernia.

 

We've got an extra roadie who helps us. You've met him...good ol' Ernie, quite possibly one of the most generous souls who ever walked the face of the earth!

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Yes, I've met Ernie. Very much a sweetheart of a guy. He and I shared a few horror stories of divorce out by the campfire the night you had your big blowout. A really nice guy with a charming personality. I enjoyed conversing with him.
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Depends on the distance, but if it's more than a short carry I use a hand truck/dolly.

For the gig at Phil's coming up, and depending on his equipment needs, I'll definitely bring along a dolly and likely a trolley/cart to haul the gear.

If I don't have to bring more than a guitar & cooler, well, I'll carry.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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BTW,

 

Back to this...

 

Although some of it could be politeness ("I don't want to burden the customer")...but, mix these two together and you've got an equation for back problems or a hernia.
If it's merely a measure of customer courtesy, then he could have spared just a few minutes more to allow one of his hired hands to help him. The moments spent could mean a lifetime of difference in continuing with a healthy life.

 

If I don't have to bring more than a guitar & cooler, well, I'll carry.
:thu: That's what I'm talking about!!! Life will deliver many ailments as we age that are unavoidable; none of us need to invite mishap.
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1. Wheels are your friends. Use them.

 

2. If you have to stack things, roll them up - don't dead-lift them. (Leverage is your other friend.)

 

3. Don't take more than you really need. Small amps are cool! :thu:

 

Remember - There is nothing macho about a back brace.

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After over a decade of working local crew in Nashville, I can tell you professional help is worth the price you pay, even where concert production is the job at hand.

 

I've had the pleasure of working on crews that were complete pros, and, to a lesser extent, crews filled with newbie's and wannabe's who were more dangerous to themselves than anyone else.

 

Remember to work smarter, not harder. As Chris mentioned, roll cases up when possible. Be aware of how handles and wheels will shift when you change orientation of a heavy case. Always wait to push a case into a vehicle until it's called for by whoever is in charge. You'd be surprised how many injuries occur because a bunch of case pushers send a case into loaders before they're even paying attention for the next case.

 

If you're packing someone else's gear and vehicle, unless they're asking you to perform a dangerous maneuver, do it their way. You don't know why they want their load certain way, so give them what they ask for. Attempting to be smarter than the load supervisor can also cause injury and/or damage to the gear.

 

When a safety harness is provided (and usually a legal necessity), use it. A month or two ago a veteran stagehand lost his life because he failed to lock in his harness while climbing a rope ladder to the lighting truss.

 

I know many of you will never use this advice on a concert tour production. However, these hints can be scaled back to moving your band in and out of venues. You're more likely to be in danger with a small band's worth of gear. The cases will be less likely to fit together well and more people assisting you are likely to be ignorant of proper safety procedures for lifting and moving heavy audio/lighting gear.

 

Stay safe!

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Very good advice Chris and Neil!!! :thu:

 

I will also add several more tips about proper lifting techniques for ANY type fixtures.

 

When lifting an item from the ground up, bend your knees while straddling the object to get a secure hold on it.

 

Test the object of unbalanced or potentially shifting weight prior to lifting it.

 

Keep your back straight and parallel to your knees. Make sure to get a good grip on the item while holding it close to your body.

 

Do NOT lift with your back, but instead use your leg muscles and strength to push your body weight and the weight of the item upward into a standing position.

 

Do not slouch while carrying the item and keep it close to your body until you are ready to set the item in place. Again bend your knees to lower the item while still keeping it close to the body. If placing it on the ground, repeat the same method in straddling as used to lift it. Do, however, make sure that your fingers are clear of getting crushed beneath the item prior to releasing it.

 

If you have to go above your head with something heavier than average; seek assistance.

 

Do not make quick turns or try to run while holding and walking with heavy items.

 

There are more tips, but we can all add them as we think of them...

 

Oh yeah, make sure that you are not grasping onto pertruding sharp objects when you go to lift...

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All of Ani's tips are great, too.

 

For smaller gigs, I set up my band's PA, and I roll solo. The system is a bi-amped three-way, consisting of JBL MR series subs and mains, two 8-space amp racks with a crest power amp in each, accompanied by our FX, EQ's line conditioners, all that, a Mackie 1604VLZ mixer, and several Mackie 450 powered speakers we use as monitors. Then there's my keyboards (usually two, sometimes three).

 

Moving it has gotten a lot easier since I started getting serious about exercise about three or four years ago, but with the subs and amp racks I generally grab someone for any movement (such as in or out of the van, up a step the dolly won't climb, etc) that can't be done on a dolly. Two-person lifts generally go quick and easy. I share that concern about not wanting to burden a guest, customer, or employee of the venue who's got their own job to worry about, but I intend not to throw out my back as well... my bandleader has several times, which is one reason I'm doing the sound now.

 

One strategy for getting brief bits of help with a smile is to ask an obviously macho type in the presence of his girlfriend... works every time! :D

 

If something has to move vertically and I have no help, I try to exploit the physics of levers whenever possible. The load is the lever, and the edge of the thing you're trying to put it on is the fulcrum.

 

At gigs where I've been in a hurry, and move too quickly without thinking things out, I definitely am way more sore the next day. When I'm doing it properly, I have it down to a science at this point, and can get it up in a couple of hours and down in one, given a good loading spot for the van.

 

Here's a tip that won't work immediately, but maybe if we all lobby incessantly for the next 20 years or so: Outlaw cobblestone! Santa Barbara is one of many cities full of this pernicious building material, and we've got a lot of the gnarly kind with coarse stones and lots of vertical variation. Perhaps we could combine our lobbying efforts with urban, affluent women who've fragged more than a few Manolo heels on this stuff.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Some great advice for lifting heavy equipment.

 

Also, for lifting something heavy like a large organ. Be sure to use both hands and use a strong grip.

GY

 

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Originally posted by Stephen Fortner:

...Here's a tip that won't work immediately, but maybe if we all lobby incessantly for the next 20 years or so: Outlaw cobblestone! Santa Barbara is one of many cities full of this pernicious building material, and we've got a lot of the gnarly kind with coarse stones and lots of vertical variation. Perhaps we could combine our lobbying efforts with urban, affluent women who've fragged more than a few Manolo heels on this stuff.

This brings up a great point that few think of unless they've done large scale production.

 

A few sheets of plywood can make your load in/out a snap on surfaces such as cobblestone, mud or other irregular or soft surfaces where casters get stuck or sink. If you're travelling in a full size van or truck, you can easily slide several sheets along the side of your cargo area to allow easy access before unloading everything.

 

Your back (and backs of those assisting you) will thank you!

 

BTW - Stagehand saying #2 (along the lines of Chris' comment) is; If it has wheels, roll it. If it doesn't have wheels, find some wheels and roll it. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Originally posted by boosh:

Best way to get things in and out of a Van.

Let the Roadie do it.

You'll never hurt your back that way.

hey wait a minute-i resemble that remark...

i ROADEE for the band local instrumental psychedelic surf band deluxe here in sf, cali.

they are famous for all the gear they have onstage...each member(3) has what amounts to a music store onstage w/ them and I get to load the truck-unload the truck-setup the stage-breakdown the stage and loadup the truck for most of their shows-we've got a few things on wheels but those 2 ampeg bass heads are thee heaviest along w/ the 8X10 cab that goes w/ em...and well lets just say if you dont wanna lift... this aint the band to work w/.

i like it 'cause the music is so good-it makes it all worthwhile.

ymmv

s :cool:

AMPSSOUNDBETTERLOUDER
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