No matter what the job is, it’s important to make sure the site is safe for everyone involved. While it may seem like it’s not a big deal, drywall safety is imperative to ensure all the workers get to go home at the end of the day without any injuries. Even beyond just a construction crew, many people will be around the project site, including customers, inspectors, architects, and other trade and service professionals. For that reason, we have gathered some information about safely handling, storing, and installing drywall.

 

Not Everyone Knows What You Know

When visitors arrive to a project site, you shouldn’t make the assumption that they understand the hazards surrounding them or how to be safe in a construction area. Even with experienced tradesman, they may not be as familiar with storing or handling drywall as you are. While you know that pulling a stack of drywall forward is dangerous, they may not, and disaster could follow. To help avoid these types of situations, it is important that any vertical stacks of drywall are properly secured. Not only will this prevent people who don’t understand the weight and danger drywall presents from getting hurt from pulling it forward, it will also avoid an issue where the stack becomes unstable due to other work going on at the site. Most of this misunderstanding comes from people underestimating how much drywall actually weighs.

 

The Weight

Many people have some sort of disconnection between what they think drywall weighs and what it really weighs. Think of it this way — a stack of ten sheets of drywall on the floor would be pretty impossible to lift all at once, whereas you can easily pull a sheet forward when it’s standing vertical. However, that ease ends up belying its true weight. A stack of drywall can weigh around a thousand pounds, and if it’s tipped over, it will gain momentum. That means by the time it reaches the floor, it will have a force equivalent of six thousand pounds. It’s pretty easy to see how that would be a dangerous situation. While there are many benefits of stacking drywall vertically, the dangers are something that need to be considered as well. But it is not as simple as just keeping sheets laying flat on the floor, unfortunately. The repetitive motion and strain of bending over and lifting up a sheet of drywall over the course of a project will wreak havoc on an installers back. You can avoid that unnecessary strain and pain by securing a vertical stack, along with placing a warning label on each stack to help everyone understand the precautions they need to take when dealing with drywall.

 

The Dangers

A construction site will carry the possibility of danger regardless of precautions that you take. It is unfortunately just a part of the job. The weight of a stack of drywall falling on someone is enough to cause severe injury, if not death. Contractors have a responsibility to make a job site as safe as possible, because it’s hazardous enough to be working with heavy materials and power tools as is, without poor planning adding to the danger. All it takes is one mistake or accident to endanger someone, so utilizing safe practices can avoid trouble and tragedy.

 

Regulations

With the danger involved in all aspects of construction, it stands to reason that OSHA has rules and regulations in place to keep everyone safe. One such regulation is the requirement that all edge stacked drywall must be properly secured. This regulation covers gypsum board, plywood, trusses, and any other similar materials, stating that they cannot be stacked on their edge unless they have been totally secured against falling or tipping. Not following these regulations can result in a citation or penalty from an OSHA inspector. That means that breaking these rules doesn’t just put people in danger, it can also cost you or your company money, even if no one gets hurt. It’s just not worth skipping these precautions, no matter how you look at it. It’s a good idea to review all of the requirements put in place by OSHA, as different states may have different regulations to follow.

 

Ensure everyone working on the job is intimately aware of the best safety practices to avoid accidents. This is the only way to make sure everyone gets to go home at the end of the day happy and healthy. No matter if it is a residential or commercial job site, drywall accidents can affect anyone and everyone involved — from small children visiting their new home, to experienced contractors, to the elderly. This makes it imperative for everyone on site to not only understand the dangers present, but to take the precautions to warn and protect anyone that may be on the property. All it takes is a little extra time to make sure a stack is correctly secured and has a warning label on it to make the site a bit more safe for everyone.



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