Section IX – Material Handling & Storage, Stocking, Safety
This document may be revised or withdrawn from circulation at any time.
Stacks of gypsum panel products are very heavy and can become unstable if proper stacking and handling procedures are not followed. Workers must always be extremely careful when stacking or working in an area where gypsum panel products are stacked. For example, a 4 feet wide by 12 feet long by 1/2 inch thick gypsum board can weigh over 80 pounds; this means a stack of only 25 of these boards weighs over a ton. Heavy equipment is frequently used to move, stack, load, stock, or otherwise handle gypsum panel products. Only trained,qualified, and properly certified drivers may operate this equipment. Always follow proper safety measures when operating or working around these machines.
Follow the safety tips below while handling gypsum panel products:
• Work in pairs whenever possible.
• Lift carefully with good techniques by using the legs, not the back.
• Stack gypsum panel products flat – not on edge or end.
• Wear a dust mask when conditions warrant.
• Ground electrical power tools properly.
• Select and use the correct tool for each job.
• Ensure that all tools are in good repair.
• Protect eyes with safety glasses or goggles when necessary.
• Proceed at a deliberate but steady pace.
• Always take precautions and time to make sure the work is done safely.
• Wear other personal protective devices and clothing such as a hard hat, gloves, safety shoes, etc.
Store gypsum board in a warehouse or other suitable structure where it will not be exposed to inclement weather or to temperatures that frequently exceed 125 degrees F. Place stacks of gypsum board evenly on a firm, dry, level, and structurally sound floor. Do not stack gypsum board higher than 17 feet. Always store gypsum board flat. Do not store gypsum board in areas of excessive humidity; do not store them below overhead equipment which may have a tendency to drip grease, oil, or water. Do not leave gypsum board in heavy traffic areas or where they can be damaged by lift trucks and other equipment. When necessary, protect exposed corners with sheet metal or another suitable material.
Do not store gypsum board outdoors or in any area where it may be exposed to moisture. Remove plastic shipping protection immediately upon receipt.
Support units of gypsum board properly to minimize sagging. Exercise care in the construction and placement of support members (known as risers or spacers). Figure 55 below shows risers that are easily and inexpensively constructed from strips of gypsum board. If units of gypsum board are stored on a floor that may be subject to dampness, use bottom risers made of wood or plastic. Construct risers to a uniform height to ensure that the gypsum board stack is supported evenly. The most common size of risers is 3 inches wide by 3 inches high by the width of the gypsum board.
Fig. 55 Stacks Of Gypsum Board On Risers
Always have two or more people handle gypsum board. Schedule delivery of gypsum board to the job site as near to the time it will be used as possible. Take care not to drag gypsum board to prevent damage to finished edges. When moving panels manually, support by the edges and never carry panels flat.
Because of the bulky and heavy nature of gypsum board stacks, they are almost always handled mechanically in warehouses, staging areas, storage, etc. Lift trucks are typically used to move stacks of gypsum board . Boom trucks are normally used to deliver gypsum board . Lift truck drivers must be trained and licensed to operate lift trucks per regulatory requirements.
Gypsum board is heavy, awkward to handle, and comes in a variety of lengths, thicknesses and types. If the customer’s personnel assist with unloading and stocking, be sure the unloading supervisor makes them aware of, and that they follow, safety precautions.
Delivering a large quantity of gypsum board to a job site also requires special equipment, such as a boom truck specifically designed to expedite the unloading process. Permit only trained and qualified operators to operate the boom during the off-loading process. The operator must be extremely careful with the boom to ensure that it does not come in contact with electrical or other utility lines or otherwise inflict damage in the area.
Regular flat-bed trucks with hydraulic lift-arms frequently deliver materials to smaller jobs. Drivers of gypsum board delivery trucks, especially to residential areas, must avoid damaging property, such as septic systems, lawns and landscaping. Damage to these types of properties may also result in damage to the truck and expenses for the distributor/retailer. Drivers must always carefully survey the unloading area to be sure that it is safe to drive into and use mechanical unloading devices.
Cover gypsum board delivered to a job site immediately and protect from outside elements such as rain, snow, or other high moisture conditions.
Do not store gypsum board on edges. Board stacked on edge can easily become unstable, and the entire stack can accidentally topple or slip, which in turn can result in serious injury or even death.
·Separate board products placed on a job site by:
oType (Place the type of board near areas where it will be installed, e.g., type X, regular, moisture-resistant, etc. This system of placement reduces the chance that the wrong type of board will be installed and applicators/hangers will have easy access to the stocked gypsum board.)
oSize (Do not place longer-length boards on top of shorter lengths.)
·Stock gypsum board out of the way of construction traffic.
·Take care to ensure that the gypsum boards do not damage the exposed studs, windows, door frames, etc.
·Stock gypsum board without blocking the work of construction tradesmen, such as electricians and plumbers.
·Never stock other items on gypsum board stocked on a job site.
·Stock gypsum board stacks so their weight is evenly distributed and the floor is not overloaded.
·Never stack gypsum board so high as to pose a danger from toppling.
·Place gypsum board stacks in unenclosed buildings far enough inside so that they are not exposed to inclement weather including blowing rain or snow.
·Exercise extreme care when stocking upper floors of open buildings during periods of high winds.
To avoid injuries, stay alert on the jobsite and use common sense safety procedures, including:
·Dress appropriately for the weather. Avoid overexposure to heat or cold.
· Use personal protective equipment, including hard hat, boots, goggles, earplugs, gloves, back support, kneepads, fall protection, etc.
·Keep pathways and work areas clear and free of debris, tools, etc.
·Inspect tools to ensure they are in good condition.
·Ensure power tools are properly grounded.
·Do not use metal ladders near electrical wires.
·Practice proper ladder safety techniques.
·Practice proper carrying and lifting techniques.
·Always have two or more people lift heavy objects.
·Use supports and clamps to hold panels in place while fastening.
·Take regular breaks throughout the day to avoid exhaustion. Stay hydrated.
·Vary tasks to avoid repetitive joint and muscle damage.
·Climb down, do not jump.