Reducing Plasterboard Size to Reduce Manual Handling

Musculoskeletal disorders are the main source of construction-related ill health. It is essential the industry reforms working practices to reduce the strain of manual handling. These measures can also lead to reductions in waste and improved efficiency.

See the examples below for how one site addressed this:

  • The site participated in a collaborative study between the client, HSE, Astins contractors and the plasterboard manufacturer, to determine the impact of large section plasterboard on waste and operatives’ health.
  • Typical plasterboard panels used in fit-out can weigh up to 12kg each, putting great strain on the operative.
  • The study involved measuring this strain by equipping operatives with wearable sensors. Operatives were measured while carrying standard boards and carrying boards half the usual size.
  • The data from the completed study has confirmed that using bespoke sized plasterboard reduces waste and risk of back strain and injury, which can contribute to musculoskeletal disorders. The tests also confirmed a 30% increase in efficiency, especially during first fixing.
  • The findings have been influential, contributing to calls to reduce the standard unit size of plasterboard supplied to the construction sector.

Footer Reference

Monitor report. Skanska. Cambridgeshire. March 2018.

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