Installing drywall can create a number of safety risks, including falls, overexertion and muscle strains – particularly in the back. NIOSH recommends the following safety precautions when installing drywall:
- Know the weight of the drywall sheet before beginning the job, and plan accordingly. Sheets of drywall can weigh 55-120 pounds, so it is important to know the size you are dealing with to ensure you have adequate workers to handle the job.
- To minimize the need for transport, have the drywall sheets delivered directly to the place where they will be installed. If transport is necessary, use forklifts, dollies or hand trucks to move the drywall sheets.
- If possible, do not install drywall by hand – have a drywall lift or drywall jacks available, especially when working with heavier sheets and ceilings.
- Be sure all workers are familiar with proper installation and lifting techniques. Each worker also should wear PVC-dot grip gloves to make it easier to lift and hold drywall sheets.
- When hanging vertical pieces, raise the sheet, shift grips to opposite sides of the sheet and then rotate into a vertical position to secure to the wall.
- Use two workers to lift larger, heavier sheets, and lift only one sheet at a time.
- Be sure workers take adequate breaks to avoid overexertion, and rotate each worker’s task through the project.