Whether you’re a contractor or a homeowner planning to do some DIY work, it’s crucial to understand how to stay safe during drywall work before you start hauling heavy objects and waving around your utility knife. To ensure your next drywall job is successful (and painless), here are four tips on how to stay safe when working with drywall. Follow this advice, and your next drywall job should go smoothly!
Keep the Worksite Clean
Traditional methods of sanding kick up quite a bit of dust. This dust can coat the floors and obscure any items you have laying around. The last thing you want to do is stub your toe on a hidden sheet of drywall or nick yourself on a dusty jigsaw, so make sure to periodically clean the worksite. A quick sweep or rub-down with a damp cloth will do nicely. You should also designate a certain area for your tools instead of haphazardly strewing them around. This will make them easier to find on short notice and reduce your risk of injury.
Use the Right Tools
Ensure you’re using the proper tools. One mistake many DIYers make is using putty knives instead of specialized drywall knives and a hammer and nails instead of a cordless drill and screws. For drywalling, you’ll need the following tools and materials:
- Chalk line
- Cordless drill
- Drywall screws
- Pry bar
- Screw gun
- Tape measure
- Taping knife
- Utility knife
You should also use the highest-quality tools possible. High-quality tools often come with added features that make them much safer than cheaper tools.
You should always wear personal protective equipment, or PPE, during drywall work. Wearing PPE will protect you from dust, chemicals, and sharp tools as you toil. Proper PPE for drywallers includes a long-sleeved shirt and pants, a NIOSH/MSHA approved dust mask, safety glasses or goggles, thick, sturdy boots, and closed-tip gloves.
Two Is Better Than One
It’s much safer to work in pairs than to work alone. Having a second pair of hands to help you carry unwieldy drywall around is extremely useful. A second set of eyes is also beneficial. If you’re using an improper technique or are about to do something hazardous, your partner can warn you of the impending danger.
Now that you know how to stay safe when working with drywall, you can hang, sand, and finish drywall fearlessly. Remember that safety comes first, no matter what you’re doing, and that you should always take the necessary steps to safeguard your physical well-being.