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By Greg Wellington
Employee safety is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Supplying employees with the safety information they need to prevent accidents is one of the most pressing issues in any workplace. The many dangers that come with drywall installation, sanding and repair should be covered in detail in any drywall safety manual / IIPP given to employees. The right manual can keep employees from making a preventable mistake that could cost the company more than just money- these preventable accidents can cost lives.
Drywall accident prevention
Residential and commercial drywall projects present many issues that can lead to employee injuries. One of the most common injuries when installing drywall is slipping and falling, according to the CDC. Falling can happen when lighting is poor, when the floor is wet or when employees don’t follow proper lifting procedures. Large pieces of drywall can be difficult to carry, leading to strains, falls and overexertion injuries. Large drywall sheets can also impair an employee’s vision, making tripping a common problem.
Some drywall sheets weigh more than 100 pounds, putting workers at risk of back problems if the sheets aren’t lifted and carried correctly. Using the proper lifting equipment may be needed for heavier sheets. That equipment and its use should be covered in the safety manual.
To prevent falls and associated injuries, the drywall safety manual / IIPP must include information about how to keep the workspace safe for workers in order to prevent falls. It must let employees know how to lift drywall safely and how to ensure that it is carried properly. Using the right tools and equipment, including gripping gloves, should be outlined for employees. The manual must also contain the current OSHA and Cal OSHA IPP guidelines for safety and accident prevention.
One of the standard procedures in the drywall business is sanding drywall. This can be a dangerous task for workers, especially over a long period of time. The dust that results from the sanding of the drywall and the joint compounds can be breathed in by workers. The exposure to this dust can cause irritation to the respiratory tract and in some cases irritation to the nose, eyes and throat. Workers exposed to the dust may cough from the respiratory irritation and experience difficulty breathing.
For workers who smoke or have asthma, the breathing troubles can be worse. In some cases, silica dust from some drywall compounds can cause lung cancer or silicosis.
The proper procedures for keeping workers from excessive exposure to drywall dust is an important part of any drywall safety manual / IIPP. The vacuum sanders that can capture the drywall dust before it is inhaled can help employees to avoid any respiratory problems. Protection for the nose and mouth may also be necessary when workers are sanding. How to use respiratory protection and specialized workplace equipment to prevent exposure should be in the employee manual
Utilizing a drywall safety manual
Drywall workers can’t get the safety and procedural information they need if they don’t have access to a comprehensive safety manual. Many companies have problems allocating enough employees and time toward creating a complete manual. With the many OSHA requirements and the drywall-specific guidelines that employees need, it is easy to leave out an important piece of information.
To combat this problem, companies often purchase a safety manual online. This allows for quick access to the downloadable manual. One place to buy drywall safety manuals online is workplacesafetymanuals.com. Purchasing an online downloadable manual means that it can be edited. Businesses can add in their own guidelines to the manual before the manual is printed.
About the Author: American Occupational Safety & Health Consultant with experience in Operational Risk Management, Insurance Loss Control, Safety Engineering and other safety related disciplines. Writes
for the construction industry.