Toolbox Talk: Materials Handling: Drywall

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

The CPWR Toolbox Talk on Materials Handling addresses the risks associated with handling drywall panels. The resource includes a ‘real-life’ case example, steps to prevent a related injury or illness, and questions for discussion. It includes an image (page 2) that illustrates the hazard, which can be posted in a central location as a reminder of steps to work safely.   Click on the following links to access the English version and the Spanish version. (English) (Español)

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoAlmost every construction project involves installation of drywall for interior walls. Workers who handle drywall sheets are at high risk of overexertion and fall injuries. The weight and bulkiness of drywall can worsen any bending, twisting, turning or lifting motions and cause serious injury.

Here is an Example

Sam had been working as a drywall carpenter for 10 years when he was diagnosed with tendonitis. His last day of work he had been lifting and carrying individual 10-foot sections of drywall sheets up the stairs. He had carried a dozen sections up 20 steps when he began to feel pain in his elbow.

  1. How could this injury have been prevented?
  2. Have you ever been injured while lifting or handling drywall?

Preventing Drywall Injuries

  • For vertical hanging in commercial buildings, raise the sheet, shift grip to opposite sides of the sheet, then rotate the sheet into a vertical position and secure to the wall.
  • Use two workers to lift larger, thicker, and heavier sheets.
  • Lift only one sheet at a time.
  • Minimize the need to move the drywall sheets.
  • Make sure that stored materials do not create any safety hazards.
  • Use drywall lifting tools and devices to move sheets easier instead of carrying sheets by hand.
  • Use a vertical drywall lift to make it easier to screw drywall sheets to the ceiling.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to promote drywall safety?







OSHA STANDARD: Section 5(1)(1) of The OSHA Act

Graphic of two workers lifting a piece of drywall into place.

  • Use two workers to lift larger, thicker, and heavier sheets.
  • Lift only one sheet at a time.