Safety When Using Drywall

Drywall installation is a field where workplace safety remains an important concern. While it may seem like drywall can be installed relatively easily, it is important to be able to spot when a contractor is performing an installation within the expected safety parameters in order to protect the contractors and the site itself.

HOW IS THE JOB SET UP?

Because of how sensitive drywall is to the elements, how much of it is used in jobs, and how difficult it can be to maneuver, dry wall should be delivered as close to the job site as possible. However, because drywall takes up a large storage space, it also needs to be placed in a way that it is not a hazard within the work environment.

Drywall should be stored in a dry space, away from moisture. It also should not be stacked too high or be braced against a wall with too many boards. Too much weight on a floor or wall that is still under construction can cause damage to the site and can lead to a hazardous work environment.

DRYWALL IS OFTEN 2-MAN JOB.

Drywall is generally made of gypsum pressed between 2 boards. It can appear light, but this is where many people are mistaken. The average piece of drywall can weight between 55 and 120 pounds and is taller than the average person. Lifting a piece of drywall in to put it in place is not something a worker should typically do on their own. Whenever a worker is placing drywall, ideally make sure they are doing so with the support of another person.

IF ALONE, MAKE SURE TO USE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT

It is possible for one person to install the drywall, but they need to be using the right tools. While moving the dry wall into position the worker should be using special drywall handles, which help alleviate the strains of repetitively lifting the awkwardly shaped pieces with the same muscle groups.

When installing, the worker should use a drywall lift, which easily lifts the pieces into place so that they can be installed in the proper position. For safety, workers should be wear PVC-dot grip gloves to make it easier to handle the piece as they are installing it.

Finally, the worker should be properly protected. Drywall can be damaging to the lungs or eyes. If a worker is installing the pieces they should be wearing proper eye protection and masks to decrease contact with gypsum particles that can come off when drilling a board into place.