Most of us carry in our heads at least one comical scenario like this one: a full-size upright piano being hoisted by a system of ropes and pulleys high above the sidewalk. Along comes the unsuspecting slapstick victim, who conveniently stops directly below to consult a map or perhaps check a wristwatch. A couple of snapped lines later, the hapless foil emerges from a tangle of wood and wire, his head perhaps encircled by a few twittering birds. It’s funny enough in cartoons, but Houston piano owners should be aware that transporting one of these instruments is no joke. As professional piano movers know well, theirs is a job with considerable risks to person and property alike.
The U.S. Department of Labor keeps careful statistics pertaining to work-related injuries and fatalities. In 2010, the industry with the highest number of fatal injuries was transportation and material moving. It’s perhaps not surprising that a job description which entails shifting objects with weights in the ton range would produce a high incidence of fatalities. These statistics notwithstanding, piano movers and other Houston professionals qualified in the transport of large or delicate objects know all too well how many lay people think they can do it themselves to save a few bucks.
Professional Houston piano movers are quick to point out that moving something like this – not only extremely heavy (weighing anywhere from 400 pounds to a half a ton) but unwieldy and highly delicate – requires a great deal of exertion, not to mention the right equipment. Even if you manage to find five burly friends to help you tote the instrument up or down a flight of stairs, the risks of minor and even major injuries are high. And not just injury – a dropped piano can easily result in death. It’s certainly possible to move a piano without hiring a professional, but the medical costs associated with something as simple as a back strain are likely to be far higher than the one-time expense of hiring a trained, insured piano mover.
Apart from the threat to life and limb, DIY piano moving perhaps poses an even bigger risk to the instrument itself. Even the pros sometimes get it wrong, as a 2007 incident in Great Britain painfully illustrates. Movers charged with transporting a grand piano worth close to $75,000 could only watch in disbelief as the instrument fell from the truck onto a stone path. The lack of injury was a small comfort to them. It’s a stark reminder to Houston piano owners who are convinced that moving their instrument across town couldn’t be that big of a deal.