Solution Summary: Pre-fabricated Drywall Pieces
Using pre-fabricated drywall pieces is a prevention through design (PtD) process that addresses worker health and safety risks associated with cutting, installing and finishing drywall by eliminating much of the onsite work with pre-finished drywall pieces that are ready for installation. With these products, joints and corners are fabricated off-site and delivered to the project site. Consequently, the contractors and the fabricators must determine where the drywall seams will fold and fit per the project specifications. Once they are ready to be installed, hot glue is placed between the seams, folded and dried before achieving its final form (figure 1).
Figure 1. Assembled pre-fabricated drywall piece. (Source: CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training)
How Risks are Reduced:
Pre-fabricated drywall pieces are created off-site specific to project requirements. Thus, this eliminates the manual labor of transporting multiple pieces from cutting area to on-site installation, which in turn also eliminates the handling of cutting tools and equipment. Further, using perfectly formed pre-fabricated drywall pieces, especially for angles and corners, eliminates the need to manually sand, patch and finish thereby minimizing the risk for dust generation.
Safety and health experts believe that minimizing forceful hand and wrist exertions may reduce the risk of injuries to the hand and wrist. Installing finished drywall may reduce stressful hand and wrist activities associated with manual drywall sanding by eliminating the need to use manual sanding tools to remove excess drywall mud.
Safety and health experts also believe that minimizing overhead work may reduce the risk of shoulder injuries. Svendsen and colleagues reported that working with arms elevated above the shoulders increased the risk of shoulder pain and inflammation of tendons in the shoulder (Svendsen et al. 2004). Installing finished drywall may reduce the amount of overhead work during ceiling drywall sanding when the tool is used with the support harness.
Effects on Productivity:
Per one manufacturer, Standard Drywall Inc., productivity is achieved by the reduction of labor time from installing finished profile... "making the project ready for paint earlier."
Jean Christophe Le - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training
Babak Memarian, PhD - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training
Bruce Lippy, PhD - CPWR The Center for Construction Research and Training