Injuries can occur when workers lift, carry, or hold drywall. Lifting drywall is awkward and should be done in pairs. When staging, place drywall in the general work area in a position to make it easier to move.

When selecting tools, select and use tools that are comfortable to use and that help get the task completed. Consider the size, weight, ease of triggering, noise volume, etc. 

Rotate Jobs
Drywall installers constantly use the same groups of muscles to lift, carry, cut, tape, and sand. Due to the repetitive nature of drywall installation, incorporate a system that allows a person to use different motions and/or muscles. Take breaks and rest opportunities to allow the body to recover throughout the day.

Try to limit the amount of time spent working overhead. The best approach is to always keep work in front of the worker. Use proper lifting techniques. Avoid bending while placing screws in drywall and doing mud and tape work.

Potential Fall Hazards
Always assess each job for fall hazards. Never overreach when installing drywall. When possible, try to keep all tasks in front of the worker when possible.

Arial Lifts
When working in lifts, ensure that all guardrails are secure. Latch the chain when occupying the lift. Always be aware of hazards above one’s head and take precautions to avoid hitting them (sprinkler heads, pipes, etc.).

Ladder Safety
Avoid using a ladder while hanging drywall. Inspect ladders before use. Look for signs of wear. When setting up a ladder, make sure it is locked and on a level surface. Look for cords, wires, and other materials that might cause an employee to trip. Maintain three points of contact when working from a ladder. 

Scaffold Safety
When assembling scaffolds, ensure that it is done according to manufacturer standards. Always check to make sure that planks are securely placed and will not shift, slide, or move when standing on them. When climbing the scaffold, be sure to take sufficient time to step and secure foot on ladder each step. Make sure to always maintain three points of contact when climbing a scaffold. Do not use cross braces as a ladder. Ensure that appropriate guardrails are in place.

When working with stilts, be sure to properly secure them on each foot. Maintain good housekeeping habits and keep jobsite floors clear from debris, tools, wires, and other equipment. When walking on stilts, walk paths clear of tripping hazards. Ensure that employees know how to work safely on stilts and that stilts are inspected daily for damage and wear.

Head Protection
Always wear a hard hat when working onsite. Drywall being installed overhead always poses a risk of hazards that can strike any worker on the head.

Eye Protection
Wear safety glasses at all times. Dust is a hazard, especially when sanding. It is also possible that screws or other building materials may fall and injure an eye.

Respiratory Protection
Depending on dust exposure, select the appropriate respirator or dust mask to prevent the inhaling of dust particles. 

Hand Protection
Gloves can be a help to protect hands when lifting drywall or removing debris. When using a tool, use it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to help avoid injury. At all times, be attentive to where hands are being placed.

Additional Resources
WCF Insurance Safety Department
(385) 351-8103

Ask a Safety Consultant

NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.