Handling drywall safely
Handling and hanging drywall sheets can result in serious injuries for workers if proper precautions are not taken. NIOSH notes that workers who handle drywall sheets have a high risk of overexertion and fall injuries. Because drywall sheets are heavy, injuries can include strains, sprains, tears and back pain. Additionally, installers and carpenters can suffer falls as a result of losing their balance when carrying, lifting or holding drywall sheets.
Tips NIOSH recommends before beginning drywall work include:
- Know the weight of the drywall sheets that will be used, and plan accordingly.
- Have forklifts, hand trucks or dollies available for moving drywall easily.
- Ensure stored materials do not create tripping hazards.
- Reduce the need for workers to install drywall by hand, including having a drywall lift or drywall jacks available when working alone, installing larger or heavier sheets, or installing ceilings.
Once work begins, NIOSH advises the following:
- Ensure workers practice proper lifting and installation techniques.