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Unit: Preparing floor coverings

LMFFL2002A: Receive and prepare floor covering materials for installation

Preparing floor coverings

Looking after your body

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Moving rolls of flooring and other heavy objects around can be back breaking work if you don't do it properly.

It can also cause other injuries, such as muscle or joint strains in your legs, shoulders and arms.

Below are some hints on how to avoid manual handling injuries while you're moving heavy items around the jobsite.

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Mechanical aids

Fortunately, there are various mechanical devices suitable for use on the job.

Although they have names like 'carpet cart' and 'linoleum dolly', you can use them to carry any similar item, of course - they're not just designed for that product.

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Carpet cart

Carpet carts come in different shapes and sizes.

They generally have large pneumatic tyres so you can easily roll them across gravel driveways and over curbs.

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Linoleum dolly

These dollies are designed for rolling out sheet vinyl and linoleum products on a floor.

The rollers run on ball bearings so that the flooring can turn while the sheet is being pulled out.

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Hand truck

Hand trucks are sometimes called hand 'trolleys'.

When they have a cluster of wheels on each side they are called 'stair walkers' or 'stair climbers'.

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Tile dolly

A tile dolly is basically a platform with wheels underneath.

It can be used to hold boxes of tiles or other heavy items that need to be pushed around the floor.

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Loading crane

Vehicle mounted loading cranes are handy when you have to take large machines to the jobsite on the back of your truck.

It's important to use the machine's built-in lifting hooks in order to maintain its balance and avoid any damage.

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Another way to load and unload heavy machines is to use ramps.

Grinding and polishing contractors generally have a winch inside their vehicle, which is used to pull the equipment up the ramps while they balance the machine from behind.

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Carrying items by hand

Even with the aid of mechanical devices, you still need to use good manual handling practices while you're lifting materials into position.

There are also many times when the only practical way to take items to the installation area is to physically carry them.

Here are some hints on carrying items by hand.

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Heavy or awkward loads

To lift and carry an awkward or heavy object:

  • Size up the load and decide whether you'll need help.

  • Check the path you'll be taking to make sure there are no obstacles in the way.
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  • Place your feet firmly on the ground and put your body in a balanced position.

  • Bend your knees to get down to the load, and keep your back as straight as possible.
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  • Use your legs to do the lifting as you stand up straight.

  • Keep the load close to your body while you're carrying it.

To put the object down again, use the same procedure as for picking it up - keep your body well balanced and use your legs, not your back.

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Also remember that while your joints and muscles are under strain, you should avoid twisting your back.

If you need to change direction while you're picking up, carrying or putting down a load, swivel on your feet so that your whole body moves in the same direction.

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Rolls of floor coverings

When you're lifting and carrying a roll of carpet or resilient flooring, the basic principles are the same - keep your back as straight as possible and your body in a balanced position.

However, this time you should support the middle of the roll on your shoulder.

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If the roll is long or heavy, or if you need to manoeuvre it around awkward hallways or up stairs, it's best to get an offsider to help.

But remember, if you're lifting and carrying carpet with an offsider, good communication is vitally important.

You both need to work in unison and know exactly what the other person is about to do.

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Learning activity

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Some installers like to do stretching exercises before they start any heavy work, particularly if they haven't warmed up yet or they're nursing an old injury.

There are lots of stretches and warm up exercises you could do. If you are a swimmer or play sport on weekends you may already be doing these sorts of activities.

See if you can think of a couple of examples suitable for a floor layer about to unload and carry heavy rolls of flooring into the installation area. Describe the exercises and the benefit they would give you.

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