In the world of road sweeping the motto is “look after your broom”. In the world of marquees it’s “look after your back” (anyone who hasn’t heard Trigger’s quote before do yourself a favour and put off starting up a marquee hire business until you’ve gone and watched every episode of only fools and horses!).
This is something I know a fair bit about as the only reason I’m now in Marquee sales is because I ‘retired hurt’ from Marquee hire with a back injury.
Does this happen with everyone? Certainly not! I’ve got friends who’ve been putting up marquees for 20-30 years with little or no problem. But it’s certainly something you have to keep in mind as keeping fit keeps the income.
In my experience the number of things you get told to help your posture and avoid a bad back is just one endless list that everyone’s keen to follow but then if you break one you just think sod it, I’ll ignore all of them. I’m no doctor, I’ve just suffered more than most with back problems so here’s my list of pointers that hopefully are realistic for your everyday marquee erector:
- Ever wondered why golfers stick their back leg out when they’re getting their ball of of the hole? It’s because it reduces the strain on their back. When you go round picking up pegs/nails/whatever stick your leg out when bending over. If what you’re picking up is heavy then crouch down keeping your back straight and bending only your knees – this is the rule broken by just about anyone who hasn’t suffered from a bad back!
- If you’re reasonably tall don’t drive a pick-up truck. Look at the seating position – your backside is about 4″ off the floor, just think how curved your back is to cope with that! Compare that with a transit van or a Land Rover where the high seat makes you sit far more upright. I’m speaking from experience, I used to own a pick-up that I’d have to fold myself out of after an hours drive. With a land rover I can hop out no matter how long the journey.
- Sit back in chairs and sofas, don’t slouch
- When lifting a heavy object (marquee roofs for example) keep it hugged close to the body rather than over one shoulder. Also try to avoid twisting when lifting as this seems to be the worst thing for your back. You often hear about people twinging their back when getting out of the bath – this is because they’re lifting (themselves) and twisting (to get out).
In brief: Stick your leg out when bending down, sit back in a decent height chair, bend your knees when lifting and don’t twist.
It’s easy to laugh all of these off but if you want to be in the marquee hire industry long term they’re well worth following, trust me I should know 🙂
Thanks for reading